AstraZeneca and Tianjin Medical University sign cardiovascular research collaboration in China

AstraZeneca today announced the signing of a research collaboration in the area of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) with Tianjin Medical University (TMU), one of China’s leading medical and scientific institutions.

The research agreement focuses on exploring novel targets against cardiac fibrosis. Patients with cardiac fibrosis experience significantly reduced cardiac function which can lead to heart failure – a major health issue and leading cause of death in China and worldwide.

Dr. Yi Zhu, Principal Investigator for the research collaboration and Professor in Physiology, department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at TMU, said, “There is currently no therapy for fibrotic diseases in general, mainly because the underlying basis of fibrosis is unclear. Understanding the mechanisms of the disease may ultimately help in the development of novel medicines in order to benefit CVD patients. We are delighted to be collaborating with AstraZeneca, a world-leader in biopharmaceutical innovation, to identify potential solutions to this health challenge.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Tianjin Medical University scientists will work in collaboration with teams from AstraZeneca’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Innovative Medicines group to explore the role of soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors (sEHI) as a potential new therapeutic intervention in addressing cardiac fibrosis. The partners will also investigate the potential causes of cardiac fibrosis. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Dr. Marcus Schindler, Vice President of AstraZeneca’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Innovative Medicines group, said, “TMU has an excellent reputation in scientific research. We look forward to building on each other’s strengths and expertise in order to further medical knowledge and ultimately, develop innovative new medicines that may benefit the hundreds of millions of patients who suffer from heart disease in China and around the world.”

China has over 100 million people with heart disease and has overtaken the US in the prevalence of diabetes, with nearly 114 million adult sufferers.1 CVDs are also a major complication of diabetes – about 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke.

“Tianjin Medical University is great example of the increasing levels of innovation we see coming out of China and other emerging markets,” commented Dr. Ajay Gautam, AstraZeneca’s Executive Director, Asia and Emerging Markets External Collaborations. “AstraZeneca is increasingly focusing on early stage academic collaborations with institutions such as TMU, because we believe that working with partners across the globe who have fresh, innovative ideas and approaches will help us accelerate the discovery of new medical breakthroughs.”