Mainland Chinese Medicine Research Center to Open in Shenzhen

A state-of-the-art traditional Chinese medicine research center combining scientific talents from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the mainland, and last year's Nobel Chemistry prize winners is set to open in Shenzhen Saturday.

By use of the latest biological, chemical and pharmaceutical technology, the center, set up by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will comprise the Institute of Materia Medica and the Institute of Modern Chinese Medicine of 20,000 square feet at the High-Tech Industrial Park in Shenzhen, said Albert Chan, director of Institute of Materia Medica and head of the university's Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology.

The aim is to magnify the influence of the HKSAR's and mainland's pharmacological research, raise the international status of the joint research and strengthen communications between renowned Chinese and overseas experts and scholars in the field, he said.

"Virtuoso Chinese medicine experts from mainland, coupled with western applied biology and chemical technology, will now be able to synergized in a way that proves the efficacy of the medicinal property of Chinese medicine measured and presented in ways that can be understood by western scientists," he said.

Even before its official opening, the center has already signed a deal with renowned British medicine manufacturer, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), in which a technology called Catalytic

Asymmetric Synthesis achieved in the joint research by last year’s Nobel Chemistry Prize winners will be transferred to the manufacturer in the form of a limited license, he revealed.

"The technology enables to produce more of the medicinally useful molecules from a certain raw material and reduce the production of the corresponding molecules harmful to humans, resulting in the use of less raw materials needed to turn out a higher volume of medicinal products and reducing costs," Chan explained.

The center is currently in negotiation with more than five overseas pharmaceutical companies for the production of brand-new Chinese medications or improvement of existing formulae.

The herbal formula for a tonic for strengthening the heart, for example, is expected to be achieved within this year, said Z. M. Qian, an associate director of the center's Institute of Modern Chinese Medicine, while a sliming formula is expected to be translated into products six months later, according to Chan.

S. L. Chen, deputy director of the Institute of Modern Chinese Medicine and formally deputy director of Sichuan Institute of Chinese Materia Medica praised the new center for being the best

in the whole of China in terms of the quality of equipment and the control standards adhered to.

"There are many similar such centers in China. But this is the best one due to the presence of an SPF-standard animal laboratory,GMP-standard formulation laboratory, DNA chips laboratory and others for Chinese medicine chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and molecular pharmacology," he said.

However, Albert Chan said the most significant part of the center is its software - meaning the talents, as the 2001 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, including K. Barry Sharpless of the Scripps Research Institute in California, Royoji Noyori of Nagoya University in Japan and old scientist William Knowles, are joining forces.

Chan said the Nobel scientists have agreed to be the honorable professors and will each stay at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for two months to assist with research projects.

The laboratories at the center are also equipped with instruments like the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, gas chromatography mass spectrometer, liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (LCMS), supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) system, he said.

Albert Chan said the reason for the center to be set up in Shenzhen instead of Hong Kong is that the location is convenient to mainland talents without the need for them to cross the Shenzhen-HKSAR border.

(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2002)

In This Series

China's Pharmaceutical Industry Gets Major Push

Gene Technology Launched to Decode Traditional Chinese Medicine

China to Have its Largest "Medicine Valley"

Chinese Medicine Field Opens to Foreigners

Nobel Laureate Calls for Modernization of Medicine

Traditional and Western Medicine Work Miracle

Private Medical Centers Find Niche in Shanghai

Genechip for Fast Medicine Track Developed in HK

Hi-Tech Will Boost Chinese Medicine Industry



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