MORRISVILLE, N.C., June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Gentris® Corporation (www.gentris.com), a global leader in the application of genomic biomarkers to clinical studies, announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine to advance global personalized medicine. The goal of this USA-China collaboration is to create translational research and epidemiological projects, as well as training and education programs, focused on pharmacogenomics and clinical sample banking, which will drive innovation in drug development and improvements in patient care.
Through this collaboration, Gentris and the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine will work together to launch cutting-edge research projects to discover, develop, and validate new genomic biomarkers. Gentris will take the lead to identify sponsors in the United States, e.g., pharmaceutical companies, for these personalized medicine projects while the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine will seek support from Chinese organizations.
The tuberculosis drug-induced liver injury pilot (TB DILI Study), conducted between Gentris, the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine, and a non-profit research institute in Research Triangle Park (RTP) serves as a model for USA-China collaborations. In this study, investigators designed a common protocol and pooled their resources to investigate DILI among tuberculosis patients in three Shanghai hospitals. By utilizing metabolomics and pharmacogenomics, they are evaluating biomarkers for early detection. Dr. Tong Zhou, Senior Director of China Initiatives for Gentris, is Co-Principal Investigator for the TB DILI Study and has significant experience in developing and managing collaborations between the United States and China. Dr. Zhou has also drawn upon his extensive network in China to begin establishing a satellite laboratory for Gentris in Shanghai that complies with U.S. regulatory standards.
Dr. Wu Fan, Director General of the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine and the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Shanghai CDC), and Dr. Howard McLeod from the University of North Carolina will provide strategic scientific oversight for personalized medicine collaborations. Director Wu is recognized internationally as a leader in public health initiatives. Dr. McLeod, Chief Scientific Advisor for Gentris, has been involved in numerous global initiatives including the Pharmacogenetics for Every Nation Initiative (PGENI), which he founded. It is anticipated that combining the resources and expertise of a research institute, academic institution, and industry—in both the United States and China—will lead to more rapid improvements in drug development and public health.
For this personalized medicine program, research studies and epidemiological projects will be designed for implementation in Shanghai based on sponsor needs. Key targeted therapeutic areas include oncology, infectious disease, and chronic disease. Training and education initiatives will also be created to bring U.S. quality standards to China including GLP, GCP, CLIA, and CAP. Gentris, the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine, and their collaborators will work with leading experts to develop workshops, courses, and a fellowship program to educate academic and industry scientists in China regarding best practices in the application of pharmacogenomics for drug development.
The Memorandum of Understanding leverages the relationships that Gentris CEO Rick Williams and Dr. Zhou have built during the past few years between North Carolina and China. While assisting a non-profit research institute in RTP, they helped to create the North Carolina-China Global Bioscience Gateway, a public-private partnership that addresses how to enhance global research innovation. Mr. Williams and Dr. Zhou are also members of the N.C. China Advisory Council, which works with the N.C. Office of the Governor and N.C. Department of Commerce to facilitate economic development between the state and China.
One of the major goals for this new agreement between Gentris and the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine is to create an expanded network of collaborators among leading universities, pharmaceutical companies, and public health organizations that leads to new pharmacogenomics discoveries, which accelerate drug development and improve patient care globally.
"I have worked with the Shanghai CDC and Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine for nearly four years to develop a translational research bridge between our two countries. I'm honored that Gentris now has an opportunity to work even more closely with the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine," said Rick Williams, Gentris CEO. "Gentris will take the lead to identify U.S. sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry that would like to jointly develop new research, epidemiological, and training programs in Shanghai."
"I am excited that the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine will partner with Gentris to develop a platform for facilitating translational research and training between industry, government, and academia," said Dr. Wu Fan, Director of the Shanghai CDC and Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine. "The goal of this partnership is to work with Gentris, a leader in pharmacogenomics and clinical sample management, to accelerate healthcare innovations in China and the USA that will improve public health globally."
"I'm pleased that our collaboration with the Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine on tuberculosis and drug-induced liver injury has grown into a broader partnership. Our plan is to develop new genomic biomarker projects that lead to improved treatment solutions in oncology, infectious disease, and chronic disease," said Dr. Tong Zhou, Gentris Senior Director of China Initiatives. "Our hope is that this cooperation between the United States and China will advance the development of novel biomarkers that better predict the safety and efficacy of drugs."
About Gentris Corporation:
Founded in 2001, Gentris is located in Research Triangle Park, NC, where it provides pharmacogenomics and biorepository support for all phases of clinical studies and genomic biomarker programs. The Company works with academic and industry leaders to translate innovations in pharmacogenomics into safer, more effective medicines, which can lead to accelerated drug development and improvement in patient care globally. In the past year, Gentris has significantly expanded its facility and onsite biorepository to meet the increased needs of biopharma clients, while maintaining a preeminent quality system.
About Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine:
The Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine, which reports to the Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau, and was established to foster innovative partnerships between government, industry, and research institutions. The Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine conducts translational research in infectious disease, oncology, and chronic disease that will improve health and prevent disease. The Shanghai Institutes of Preventative Medicine works with the Shanghai CDC and hospitals in Shanghai to design and implement its research and clinical studies.
SOURCE Gentris Corporation