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Getting personal about profiling
SHANGHAI, China—PerkinElmer Inc. has announced a new collaboration with the National Center for Drug Screening (NCDS) to advance personalized medicine and drug profiling in China. The two organizations will establish a personalized drug research and development platform that will validate biomarkers for individualized disease treatment for Chinese patients.
Underscoring the joint effort's significance to both partners, its launch was celebrated by a ceremony at the Chinese National Compound Library in Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, Shanghai, attended by key governmental and corporate leaders, including Jianjun Cheng, CCP Secretary of Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Weihua Song, deputy director of Shanghai Zhangjiang INNOPARK Administrative Committee; Robert Friel, PerkinElmer's chairman and CEO; and Dr. Ming-Wei Wang, director of the NCDS. Dr. Martina Bielefeld, an eight-year veteran in drug discovery R&D with the company and now sales leader for Asia Pacific, will lead the collaboration from the PerkinElmer side. Wang has already begun development work, Bielefeld notes, and the first biomarkers have been validated in his lab.
"It is an honor for PerkinElmer to collaborate with Dr. Wang, who is one of the pioneers in the field of personalized medicine," Friel told the assembled dignitaries. "We look forward to working with Dr. Wang, the NCDS and Chinese scientists to develop a significant personalized drug research and development technology platform, which will enable patients to be treated more accurately, safely and efficiently."
Bielefeld notes that PerkinElmer has been active in China over the past few years in the imaging field.
"We brought in expertise on live-cell imaging—from stem cells to cancer—that quickly resulted in success and publication in journals like Cell. Now we're also focusing on the diagnostic side of inherited diseases."
She says PerkinElmer added the "life-science research part and human health part" with the acquisition of Caliper Life Sciences in 2011. The new program will include sequencing patient samples in order to establish genomic information for drug profiling, including validation of biomarkers for personalized disease treatment and related informatics solutions.
As a part of this program, PerkinElmer and the NCDS will first undertake a study on metabolic diseases to validate new diagnostics for the Chinese population utilizing next-generation sequencing technologies. Once optimized, the technology platform will be implemented in CLIA testing laboratories and hospitals throughout China.
"It will be a real team effort," Bielefeld says, "with our Chinese partners providing patient samples, prep and handling, while PerkinElmer provides people and technology such as chip-based microfluidic systems. We'll also handle data sets using software such as Spotfire."
Spotfire analyzes data using statistics.
"As an important customer and long-term collaborator of PerkinElmer in the field of life sciences and drug discovery, the National Center for Drug Screening is committed to the research and development of new and effective drugs," Wang said. "For the majority of drugs that are available in China, the respective biomarkers have not yet been fully validated. We are very excited to build this state-of-the-art personalized medicine program with PerkinElmer, which will allow us to offer vital insights to improve the quality of healthcare in China."
The NCDS is a joint venture of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Municipality Government, and is the only national center in China specializing in screening for new drugs. The center offers drug screening services and technical consultation to universities, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies nationwide.