April 25, 2005 11:27 ET

UHN forms joint venture with major Shanghai research institute

A ‘brain gain' for Canadian science, says VP of Research Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Science Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ON--(CCNMatthews - April 25, 2005) - UHN Media Release

UHN forms joint venture with major Shanghai research institute

A 'brain gain' for Canadian science, says VP of Research

Bringing new drugs to cancer patients is a key goal of a unique partnership set up between University Health Network (UHN) and the Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences.

"It's a vital step for UHN, which is well positioned to be one of the first research hospitals to discover and develop new drugs," says Dr. Christopher Paige, Vice President of Research.

Why Shanghai?

"I call it a 'brain gain' for UHN," says Paige. "Our strategy is to reach out to an existing pool of talent, so we're going to where the medicinal chemists are. That happens to be China, not Canada, which has a shortage of these specialists." Medicinal chemists are at the heart of medicine discovery, turning compounds into active ingredients.

A memorandum of understanding formalizing the joint venture was signed March 4 in Shanghai by Paige and Dr. Jingwu Zhang, Director, Institute of Health Sciences. It states that the new partners will collaborate on major health research initiatives that can be translated into benefits for patients around the world.

The joint venture is expected to accelerate the development of new tools to investigate human health, and new treatments and drug development to fight major diseases such as cancer.

"This joint venture is a win-win on many levels," says Paige. "In our global world, it's an old-fashioned concept to start from scratch in research. Our collaboration will encourage cross-continental connections between scientists and students in both countries. In this way, UHN will further its vision to achieve global impact."

The Shanghai Institute of Health Sciences -- one of China's major research institutes - has 100 researchers and 100 graduate students dedicated to investigating diseases including cancer, infectious diseases such as SARS, influenza, tuberculosis and AIDS, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It is affiliated with a major medical school and a leading cancer hospital.

UHN research institutes - Toronto General Research Institute, Ontario Cancer Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute - have nearly 500 scientists and clinician scientists as well as more than 1,700 students, fellows and technical staff performing leading-edge medical research in the areas of cancer, cardiology, transplantation, neuroscience and visual sciences, musculoskeletal health, arthritis, immunology and infectious disease.

University Health Network is a major landmark in Canada's healthcare system, and a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. Building on the strengths and reputation of each of its three hospitals -- Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital -- and their affiliated research institutes, UHN brings together the talent and resources needed to achieve global impact and provide exemplary patient care, research and education.

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For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Eva Lannon

(416) 340-4011

Senior Public Affairs Advisor - Corporate

Public Affairs and Communications

University Health Network


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  • Eva Lannon, Sr. Public Affairs Advisor
    Primary Phone: 416-340-4011
    Secondary Phone: 416-340-4636