September 4, 2018
Boehringer Ingelheim and Tsinghua University in Beijing announce a collaboration aiming to research and develop immunological therapies for infectious diseases. Scientists will work in the Boehringer Ingelheim-Tsinghua University Joint Research Center for Immuno-Infection to harness the mechanisms of immune modulation to combat infectious diseases. The collaboration brings together the leading expertise of Tsinghua University in infectious disease research and immunology with Boehringer Ingelheim’s experience in the development of novel therapies for patients suffering from diseases with high unmet medical need and its comprehensive research and development programs in cancer immunology and immune modulation.
Infectious diseases such as lower respiratory tract infections (e.g. bacterial/viral pneumonia) and tuberculosis are amongst the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. In China, chronic hepatitis B and tuberculosis are of high prevalence and associated with high mortality. Although pathogen-directed treatments and vaccinations have greatly reduced the impact of infectious diseases in past decades, they continue to be a major challenge for health. Increasing levels of resistance threaten the effectiveness of many anti-microbial drugs. No new antibiotic classes were developed during the past three decades and many treatments fail to achieve cure, resulting in large numbers of patients at risk due to long-term persistent infections.
Similar to cancer, many pathogens may inhibit or modulate their host’s immune system and thus circumvent immune defense. Immune system activating therapies, which have brought a major therapeutic breakthrough in cancer may open similar transformative opportunities for infectious disease treatment.
“Value through innovation has been the driving force of Boehringer Ingelheim to meet the unmet medical need for patients, and to better serve society”, said Professor Zheng You, Vice President of Tsinghua University. “For Tsinghua University, innovation is one of the most important aspects we pursue, and this is the basis and synergy for this partnership.”
Professor Chen Dong, Dean of School of Medicine at the Tsinghua University says, “We look forward to combining Boehringer Ingelheim’s leading competencies in immune oncology and immunology and the discovery and clinical development of new therapeutic agents with our leading expertise and strength in anti-infective therapy research and especially in immune modulation, for patients suffering from diseases with high unmet medical needs.”
“The joint scientific hub gives our scientists the opportunity to work hand in hand with the outstanding scientists from Tsinghua University to discover novel treatment approaches in the field of immunology and infectious diseases,” explains Clive R. Wood, Ph.D. Senior Corporate Vice President, Discovery Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “This partnership has the potential to open new approaches for currently untreatable infectious diseases.”
“Our collaboration with Tsinghua University is a further expression of our strong commitment to supporting research and development in China, and acknowledges the leading position China has achieved in many scientific areas”, said David Preston, President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim Greater China.
This collaboration is an initiative of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Research Beyond Borders (RBB) and Cancer Immunology and Immune Modulation Research Departments. Immuno-infection is a new focus area for Boehringer Ingelheim’s RBB department, which also focuses on gene therapy, regenerative medicine and the role of the microbiome in human health and disease.
With the new collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim further expands its activities in the growing biomedical innovation hot spot of China. By combining a focus on cutting-edge science with a long-term view, the company aspires to develop the next generation of medical breakthroughs to improve the lives of patients suffering from diseases with high unmet medical needs.
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