HIJAU is GREEN … news & views

Natural drug discovery efforts

    • PA 39/10

      March 5 2010

      Nottingham collaboration on

      modernising Chinese medicine

      The University of Nottingham is collaborating with one of China’s largest pharmaceutical companies in an international research initiative.

      The University is working closely with Tasly Group Company Limited to establish new postgraduate courses in pharmaceutical research and management, and to further develop commercial links between Nottingham and China.

      It is a collaboration that brings together areas of expertise that will stimulate further natural drug discovery efforts and bring international management skills to Chinese pharmaceutical industrial leaders and managers. It may also bring economic benefits to the East Midlands.

      Tasly is a world leader in creating modern drugs from ancient natural Chinese remedies. Chinese medicine embodies a sophisticated system of diagnosis, prescription and treatment, with vast potential for modern pharmacologists to create effective drugs based on these age-old compounds.

      The University is already collaborating with Tasly in the research and development of pharmaceuticals including traditional Chinese medicines, chemical drugs and biologics, educational programmes and contract research services.

      Tasly’s chairman, Dr Xijun Yan, and vice-president, Dr Henry Sun, visited the University on February 23 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, cementing links between the two partners and furthering plans to develop joint MSc and PhD programmes.

      Both Dr Yan and Dr Sun have pioneered the globalisation of Chinese medicines, and each delivered a lecture to the assembled Nottingham staff and students. Dr Yan spoke on the development of China’s pharmaceutical industry, and the people-oriented development of technology and education. Dr Sun spoke on ‘Clinical pharmacology and pharmacometrics in new drug development’.

      The latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr Yan and by Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham. Senior representatives from the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) also attended the signing ceremony.

      The MoU pushes forward plans to develop two taught Masters programmes and a PhD programme in collaboration with Tasly. These could include the following courses, jointly delivered by the University and Tasly, with study in both China and the UK:

· A University of Nottingham MSc Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurship programme

· A University of Nottingham MSc Pharmaceutical Research Development

· A University of Nottingham PhD programme

    • Dr Richard Masterman, Director of Research Innovation Services at The University of Nottingham, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the University to develop new links with a major Chinese company, in areas where they can benefit from our expertise and that has the potential to realise significant benefits for the region.”

      University of Nottingham academics in the United Kingdom carry out research into natural-product-based drug discovery in Chinese medicine across the Schools of Biomedical Sciences, Biosciences, Chemistry and Pharmacy.

      In China, over 15 years of development at Tasly Group has applied pharmaceutical industry techniques to traditional medicine. It has become a high-tech firm whose scope includes modern traditional Chinese medicine, chemical medicine, biological medicine, vaccines, healthcare products, and functional food, covering research and development, planting, manufacturing, and distribution.

      Over 75,000 formulations are reportedly in use in traditional Chinese medicine, consisting of combinations of more than 5,000 single compounds. While there is a strong belief that many of these formulations have therapeutic value, clinical and scientific evidence to support the claims is often lacking or poorly documented.

      In its research, Tasly Group has already isolated over 16,000 purified single compounds and 10,000 fractional extracts. Those purified compounds and fractional mixtures are extracted from 240 of the 300 most frequently used herbs. Around 130 Chinese medicine projects are in early and later stages of research, development and commercialisation covering anti-infective, anti-cancer, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastro-intestinal, diabetes, cholesterol control, and women’s health medicines.


      Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK’s Top 10 and the World’s Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.

      More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

      The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain’s “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.

      Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.
      More information is available from Dr Richard Masterman, Director, Research Innovation Services, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 6418, richard.masterman@nottingham.ac.uk; or Tim Utton, Deputy Director, Communications, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 8092, tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk

      More University of Nottingham news: http://communications/nottingham.ac.uk/


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