Birmingham-China collaboration to develop new drugs for global epidemics

7 June 2018: University of Birmingham scientists are working with partners at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health (GIBH), China, to develop new drugs that could help tackle global epidemics. 

University of Birmingham researchers have already identified a number of compounds that are looking promising as potential therapeutic treatments, and University of Birmingham Enterprise, the University’s technology transfer company, is optimistic that the collaboration will result in novel drugs for infectious diseases.

The chemistry for drug candidates is designed by a team of Birmingham researchers led by Professor John Fossey, Reader in Synthetic Chemistry, and Dr Luke Alderwick, Director of the Birmingham Drug Discovery Facility. 

The team of expert GIBH researchers then design and synthesize new molecules with better drug-like properties.

The biological activity of the resulting molecules is then tested by both institutions before the molecules are optimised further. 

This process is expedited by the rapid sharing of data through the University of Birmingham’s BEAR DataShare facility, which was developed by the University to enable secure sharing of project-related data across the world, even by mobile phone.

The University of Birmingham has a long-standing relationship with the city of Guangzhou, which is also the sister city of Birmingham itself. The University opened its Guangzhou Centre in 2011 and its China Institute has forged close links with partners in the city and beyond.

GIBH is a high-profile research institute, run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and the People’s Government of Guangzhou Municipality. Research areas include stem cell and regenerative medicine, chemical biology, public health, immunology and infectious diseases.