Immtech Pharmaceuticals, a US company focused on developing and commercialising new compounds for infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C, has teamed up with a leading Chinese academic medical research centre to develop a joint venture for contract research services in that market.

Under a newly signed memorandum of understanding, Immtech and Beijing Capital Medical University (BCMU) plan to set up the joint venture later this year, providing a range of contract research services in China from research planning and risk assessment through to preclinical and clinical study design.

While the initial focus will be on early-stage drug discovery, the venture will also be equipped to support later-stage clinical development including co-ordination with research sites, data management, monitoring and reporting for research programmes, the partners said. They aim to expand these operations to take in advice and support relating to regulatory guidelines and review procedures for clinical research in China.

Mr Guo, director of the BCMU Resource Management Center, said the university – which consists of 10 schools, 14 affiliated hospitals and a teaching institution – was “a well established research centre with drug discovery experience, and significant capital and resources”.

As the world’s fastest-growing market for healthcare products, China was “poised for explosive growth in research in the years ahead, especially related to early-stage drug discovery”, he noted.