NUI Galway does research deal with Chinese institute

Tue, Aug 14, 2012, 01:00

NUI GALWAY (NUIG) will share and exchange research on biomaterials with a leading Chinese research institute and a medical technology firm after signing a deal in Beijing today.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is due to attend the memorandum of understanding signing by NUIG’s president, Dr Jim Browne, with the Tianjin International Academy of Biotechnology and Medicine and China Nucleon Medical Technology Group.

Biomaterials are substances implanted in the body, such as hip implants, stents, heart valves, wound dressings and systems for delivering genes, drugs and vaccines.

NUIG hosts a Science Foundation Ireland-supported research cluster in this field, known as the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB).

The Tianjin International Joint Academy of Biotechnology and Medicine is a €140 million research plant in northern China.

The China Nucleon Medical Technology Group is regarded as a pioneer in medical imaging for the Chinese pharmaceutical industry.

The company is said to have “extensive facilities for clinical trials and preclinical drug development throughout China”, according to the university.

The memorandum of understanding will “facilitate the exchange of researchers, the exchange of academic information and the development of collaborative research projects”, according to NUIG.

The first project in the partnership will involve collaboration between the Galway researchers and their Chinese counterparts on developing a polymer for cancer treatment.

NFB principal investigator Dr Wenxin Wang described the agreement as having enormous potential “for the development of new techniques and treatments and for the commercialisation and translation of existing technologies to the clinical environment”.

“China is currently emerging as a major player in biomedical research, and establishing these relationships now will pay ever-increasing dividends in the future,” said Dr Wang.

Dr Browne said that such partnerships pointed to Ireland’s “global strength in the biomedical sector and the importance of creating linkages which will be of mutual benefit to industry and enterprise both in Ireland and in China”.

The university already has partnerships in China, signed during the trade and investment mission led by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Shanghai and Beijing this year.

The NUIG’s existing agreements are with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an.

The university’s Regenerative Medicine Institute, which is involved in stem cell research, also has agreements with the Shanghai Institute for Paediatric Research, Bio-X Institutes and the Tangdu Neurosurgery and Neurology Hospital.