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Go East, young man
MADISON, Wis.—Even as King's College London has discovered tremendous value in traditional Chinese herbs, Promega Corp. is playing a major role in helping to being "Western-style" science to pharmaceutical work in China.
Promega recently announced a collaboration agreement with the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health (GIBH), Chinese Academy of Sciences, under which the respective organizations will co-develop compound profiling solutions for small molecule and traditional Chinese medicine drug screening.
GIBH scientists will offer contract services designed to profile the biology of potential leads using the Promega suite of biological drug screening assays. Initial plans call for development of cytochrome P450, cytotoxicity, kinase and GPCR profiling assays. GIBH will use the assays both in house for its own discovery programs as well as offer them on a contract basis to outside companies in China and abroad.
"It's pretty rare to see a Chinese company—and this is true in many other Asian nations as well—being proactive and really driving innovation in technology rather than just using existing technology," notes John Watson, Promega's director, pharma/biotech, who says everything from the equipment to the staffing to management is following a very Western-style model for drug discovery.
Ultimately, says Watson, the GIBH is expected to be a seed institution, spinning off separate CROs that specialize in particular target classes and even pharmaceutical companies as GIBH discovers promising lead series