Traditional Chinese Medicine company is the 50th company to join the Babraham Bioincubator...


30-11-2007

Her Excellency Madame Fu Ying, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, today officially opened ‘Meditrina’, the newest Bioincubator building at the Babraham Research Campus, and welcomed the first Chinese company to the campus, near Cambridge.

The XiangCam TCM Research Centre (XiangCam) is a pioneering collaboration between Chinese enterprise and academic institutions in China and the UK. It aims to illuminate the science underpinning Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories and practice, facilitating interaction between Eastern and Western practices, and ultimately to deliver solutions to the unmet needs of global healthcare in the 21st century.

 

Dr David Hardman, CEO of Babraham Biosciences Technologies (BBT) said, “We are delighted that Guangzhou Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals (Xiangxue) chose Babraham as its first overseas research base for XiangCam. Not only is Xiangxue the first overseas bioventure in our facilities, it is also the 50th biomedical company to locate to the Babraham Research Campus since the Bioincubator opened in 1999.”

 

This is the first time that Chinese Pharma has invested in a Traditional Chinese Medicine research organisation in the UK, fostering collaborative research across the academic and commercial divide between East and West.

 

“Traditional Chinese Medicine is very popular in China and it is important to represent it to the world,” explained Mr. Wu Jun, CEO of XiangCam. ”As the first biomedical enterprise invested from overseas at the Babraham Research Campus, XiangCam is focusing on evaluation of efficacy of TCM, drawing on the excellent facilities provided by the Babraham Research Campus, our collaborators in China and the UK. XiangCam will bring together blue sky TCM collaborative research in the UK; research projects are already underway. We believe that this model of inter-university collaborative research projects between China and the UK will foster future cross-border collaborations and pave the way for further Chinese Bio-enterprises to be incubated at the Babraham Research Campus.”

 

Sir Robin Young, Chairman of East of England International said, ”This is a great model of Anglo-Chinese and inter-university collaboration and we are fortunate to have its hub located in the Babraham Incubator, which is itself an attraction in its own right to attract knowledge in the life science sector. In future cross-border collaboration between universities and businesses to reduce development lead times and costs and secure competitive advantage will become increasingly important. On behalf of EEI, I would like to wish all collaborators every success with their research.”

 

The University of Cambridge has spear-headed the initiative with Tsinghua University in China. Professor Peter McNaughton, Sheild Professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge said, "In these days of huge international pharmaceutical companies and modern high-powered methods of drug development it is worth recalling how much we owe to compounds discovered in the natural world through folk medicine. As an example, aspirin, one of the most successful pharmaceutical compounds of all time, was discovered as a minor chemical modification of salicylic acid, isolated from willow bark, whose analgesic properties had been known by folk healers for millennia.”

 

“There are many other examples of successful pharmaceutical compounds which owe their origins to the natural world and to folk medicine, and it seems likely that there are many more waiting to be discovered. One major interest of this collaboration will be to understand how different components of several herbs can promote or inhibit the growth of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis. This knowledge may be useful in developing novel anti-cancer agents, because preventing the formation of new blood vessels provides a powerful means of inhibiting tumour growth."

 

“Dr Tai-Ping Fan, senior lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology at Cambridge and Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, has a long-standing interest in understanding the scientific basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and established a connection with Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals from Guangdong Province, China. Arising from this link, The Department of Pharmacology is delighted that Xiangxue decided to establish a Cambridge base, the XiangCam TCM Research Centre, with funding from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.”

 

Other UK partners include the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which will authenticate a selection of TCM herbs prior to chemical, pharmaceutical and toxicological analysis by teams at Brunel University, Bradford University, the London School of Pharmacy, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital. In addition to elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind the actions of single TCM herbs, or formulas including several different herbs, a further outcome will be a reference library for TCM standards. “Leads” identified through the Anglo-Chinese collaborative research projects will then undergo clinical research in China. This may also pave the way for new blends of Chinese medicine or plant extracts, as well as synthetic derivatives, yielding a new generation of safer and more efficacious TCM products.

 

Meditrina, named after the Roman goddess of medicine, was part-funded by a capital grant of £2 million from the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) enabling the construction of this state-of-the-art £7million Bioincubator.

 

 

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd is the wholly-owned subsidiary and trading arm of the Babraham Institute. Coalescing scientific, technological and commercial excellence, BBT delivers the Knowledge Transfer remit of the Institute through the wider landscape of the Babraham Research Campus, catalysing opportunities for enterprise across the academic and commercial divide. BBT brings together all the elements to support innovation and enable the successful exploitation of research in the biomedical sector based on technologies emanating from the Babraham Institute and bioventures relocating to the Babraham Research Campus.

 

The Babraham Research Campus is the UK’s leading knowledge-driven Biomedical Park where world-class research, business know-how and entrepreneurial excellence come together to stimulate effective knowledge transfer and bridge the academic and commercial divide. The campus provides a unique and highly successful environment that actively fosters innovation and plays a pivotal role for biomedical start-up companies in the Cambridge region and with delivering innovation at the frontiers of biomedical research. BBT has taken a prominent role regionally, initiating and leading partnerships to promote knowledge and skills flow and has established a reputation for successfully translating innovative science into viable business opportunities through partnerships for wealth creation. This is stimulating inward investment to the campus and contributing to regional development. Building on the success of the incubator model, BBT established a new venture, Aitua Ltd, formerly 'Babraham BioConcepts Ltd'. Aitua works closely with innovators to create and nurture emerging companies from world-class science and technology deriving mainly from the Babraham Institute or locating to the Babraham Research Campus. It will provide seed and early round funding, inject specific expertise and provide access to facilities to companies. BBT’s activities support wider investment in the life sciences to generate and sustain growth of the region’s healthcare economy. Website: www.babraham.com

 

The Babraham Institute is an independent charitable organisation, sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, carrying out world-leading innovative research and advanced training with relevance to the biomedical, biotechnological, pharmaceutical and healthcare research and user communities. The Institute’s research focuses on the mechanisms of cell signalling and gene regulation, which underlie normal cellular processes and functions, and on how their failure or abnormality may lead to disease. As such, Institute scientists are striving to find cures for conditions where there is currently no treatment or where the existing treatment is not fully effective or causes serious side effects. The latest technologies are being used to study the basis of conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, foetal abnormality, cancer and diseases of the immune and cardiovascular systems. The commercialisation of the Institute’s research is managed by its trading subsidiary, Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd. The Babraham Research Campus is located six miles south-east of Cambridge.  Website: www.babraham.ac.uk

 

Guangzhou Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals Co. (Xiangxue) is based in Guangdong province, the south of China. Xiangxue manufactures many products, such as Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM), function foods and drinks, surgical biomedical devices etc. Xiangxue is always focusing on novel manufacturing technology for TCM and its quality control, and achieved No. 5 of "China Potential Enterprise TOP 100" (Forbes China). After establishing over 57,000 square meters company campus in Guangzhou Science City in 2007, Xiangxue has brand-new facility for R & D of TCM.

 

East of England International (EEI) is the official regional organisation that provides business support to companies seeking to trade internationally and assists foreign-owned businesses looking to invest in the region. EEI is funded by and works in partnership with the UK Government, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and a wide range of businesses and partners in the region. East of England International (EEI), the region¹s international business support organisation, worked closely with Xiangxue Pharmaceuticals as it selected and then prepared to open its UK base. EEI introduced the company to the Babraham Bioincubator, as well as to a number of other contacts, from law firms able to help with research contracts, to distributors with the potential to market the Xiangue range of herbal stimulation drinks in the UK. EEI also arranged events to promote the centre to potential commercial and university collaborators. In the East of England, EEI¹s Trade Teams deliver UK Trade & Investment services. www.eeia.com


UK Trade & Investment is the government organisation that provides integrated support services for UK companies engaged in overseas trade and foreign businesses focused on the UK as an inward investment location. It brings together the work of teams in British embassies and FCO posts overseas and government departments across Whitehall. In England, international trade support is coordinated by nine International Trade Directors working in partnership with each Regional Development Agency. For further information visit www.exporteastofengland.org.uk and www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk

East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Its vision is to create a leading economy, founded on a world-class knowledge base, creativity and enterprise to improve the quality of life for all who live and work here. www.eeda.org.uk

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Contact details
Dr David J Hardman, Chief Executive Officer         Tel: +44 (0)1223 496205
Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd               Fax: +44 (0)1223 496020
 
Dr Claire Cockcroft,
Deputy, Corporate Affairs                                    Tel: +44 (0)1223 496260
Babraham Institute                                             Fax: +44 (0)1223 496002
 
Nicola Kinsey,
Commercial Liaison Manager                              Tel: +44 (0)1223 496334
Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd               Fax: +44 (0)1223 496020
 
XiangCam TCM Research Centre
Mr Wu Jun, Chief Executive Officer                      Tel: +44 (0)7933512830
 





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