The commercial arm of the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) has announced a drug-discovery collaboration with one of the research arms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Formalised at a signing ceremony in Shanghai, the strategic partnership between MRC Technology and the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology (SIBCB), part of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, is aimed at fast-tracking innovative, drug-able targets to generate potent and selective novel therapeutics.

The collaboration will leverage the SIBCB’s experience in identifying potential new drug targets with MRC Technology’s capabilities in taking forward early-stage research for pharmaceutical applications and commercialisation.

The SIBCB is “one of the world’s leading academic research institutions and the initiative reflects our joint commitment to delivering drugs for the treatment of diseases of global significance”, said Dave Tapolczay, chief executive officer of MRC Technology.

Pioneering research

The Chinese institute was formed in 2000 through the merger of Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry (founded in 1958) and Shanghai Institute of Cell Biology (1950). The SIBCB has pioneered research programmes in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.

As well as providing technology-transfer services to the Medical Research Council, MRC Technology recently broadened its remit to include helping other charitable and academic organisations with intellectual-property management and commercial development of healthcare-related science.

MRC Technology also has small-molecule drug discovery and therapeutic-antibody facilities, de-risking novel targets by assembling proof-of-concept and pharmaceutical-quality data packages, and offering lead-stage therapeutic assets to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.