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Saturday, February 03, 2018, 00:45
PolyU platform brings biotech hub status closer
By Honey Tsang
Saturday, February 03, 2018, 00:45 By Honey Tsang

HONG KONG – The Greater Bay Area’s biotechnology hub plans had a boost on Friday as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University joined five other institutions to create a research platform - the first of its kind in the region.

The school believes its partnership with institutions from across the Chinese mainland, Macao and the United States will push forward Hong Kong’s foray toward achieving international biotech hub status.

The deal came after Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Chairwoman Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun told China Daily last month that the city should lead biotech development in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also vowed to set up a new biotech medical center in Hong Kong in a meeting with Wan Gang, minister of science and technology, in Beijing on Thursday.

PolyU’s intercontinental partnership, sharing talents and resources in the city and abroad, aims to encourage advances in genomics and the development of anti-cancer drugs.

The program is expected to draw more than 1,000 researchers into the region, said Terence Lau Lok-ting, director of innovation and technology development at the PolyU and leader of the cooperation project.

He said the bay area’s large population produces extensive patient data, which will speed up medical research.

Collaboration with leading US partners will help bring the area’s medical studies up to an international level, which in the end will benefit global citizens’ well-being, he added.

“The collaboration platform initiated by PolyU is coherent with the central government’s strategies in the Greater Bay Area development,” Lau said.

PolyU and the cooperating institutions – Sun Yat-sen University and Shenzhen University in Guangdong province, Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST), State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center – signed a memorandum on Friday.

Lau highlighted genomics research. Last year PolyU and MUST conducted joint research examining genetic risks of critical diseases in Macao. The report results were passed on to the Macao government for future healthcare policymaking.

The genomics project will branch out into Hong Kong and to cities of Guangdong province, he added.

PolyU will also boost cancer therapeutics development in collaboration with the US institutions, said Larry Chow, professor of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of PolyU, one of the facilitators of the alliance’s establishment.

In 2012, a drug named BCT-100 for treating liver cancer, developed by the PolyU, was granted Investigational New Drug status by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Xiao Haipeng, vice-president of Sun Yat-sen University, which founded the mainland’s first Western medicine hospital in 1835, told China Daily he has great faith in Sino-American medical cooperation.

“Our university strives to use our long experience in clinical research and talents to help propel the betterment of public health,” Xiao added.

Lau said the affiliation would reach a consensus on financial planning and project implementation in about three months.

honeytsang@chinadailyhk.com

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