Chi-Med and Merck KGaA Starts Collaboration to Discover Novel Small Molecule Anti-Cancer Drugs

20 Nov 06

Hutchison China MediTech Limited (“Chi-Med”) announced the signing of a collaboration agreement between its wholly-owned drug R&D subsidiary Hutchison MediPharma Limited (“Hutchison MediPharma”) and Merck KGaA (“Merck”) of Darmstadt, Germany on future joint research efforts focusing on discovering novel anti-cancer drugs derived from natural products that modulate oncological pathways. Financial details are not being disclosed.

Mr. Christian Hogg, CEO of Chi-Med, said: “Over the last four years, we have established a solid R&D organization that has brought two candidates into US phase II clinical studies in the oncology and auto-immune areas. We are delighted to partner with Merck to broaden our research activities in the oncology area. Merck has a good record of achievement in the development and commercialization of oncology products such as Erbitux. In addition, we believe this collaboration further validates Chi-Med’s drug discovery capability.”

Chi-Med sees Traditional Chinese Medicine as a major, under-exploited reservoir for the development of novel drugs for the global pharmaceutical market and for developing new products for the global health and beauty consumer markets. Plants, particularly those that have been used as traditional medicines, have a long-established record of efficacy and safety.

Dr. Samantha Du, Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Chi-Med, commented: “The goal of this collaboration is to leverage the expertise of both Merck and Chi-Med in oncology research. This collaboration will allow us to address important unmet medical needs by accessing natural products, a rich source of diversified chemical components with drug-like properties.”

Dr. Ulrich Betz, Preclinical R&D, Head of Strategic Innovation and Research Portfolio Management for Merck, said: “We are delighted to complement and enrich our oncology research with this collaboration. It will also allow us to extend our interaction with the emerging Chinese pharmaceutical industry that builds on the long-standing tradition and knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine combined with modern scientific technology. We are looking forward to a productive collaboration with Chi-Med.”