BayerBayer HealthCare Company Ltd and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, are expanding their joint research partnership relating to the Bayer-Tsinghua Joint Research Center for Innovative Drug Discovery (BTC). This week, both partners signed a new strategic agreement to collaborate in the area of biomedical sciences over the next 3 years.

"The decision to further develop this successful research collaboration underlines Bayer’s commitment to China as an important component of our innovation strategy," said Prof. Dr. Andreas Busch, Member of the Bayer HealthCare Executive Committee and Head of Global Drug Discovery.

"The Bayer-Tsinghua Joint Research Center for Innovative Drug Discovery has established itself as an interface to foster communication between leading experts from Tsinghua University's Institute of Biomedicine and researchers from Bayer HealthCare," said Prof. Yuan Si, vice president of Tsinghua University.

Headed by Dr. Shi Yigong, Professor and Dean of School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, multiple joint research projects have been initiated at the BTC which was established by Bayer HealthCare and Tsinghua University in 2009. The joint projects focus on different research aspects starting from early research programs to gain deeper understanding of disease mechanisms, identification of new drug targets and spanning further to joint structural biology research and medicinal chemistry programs.

"A new focus of our collaboration will be the area of structural biology, where scientists from Tsinghua University will work in close collaboration with Bayer scientists to solve the 3D protein structure of biological molecular targets as a basis for new drug discovery projects," said Dr. Shi, who also is a renowned structural biologist.

To further strengthen the relationship between Bayer and Tsinghua University a Bayer endowed chair at the Tsinghua University - Institute of Biomedicine will be established in 2012. Dr. Dong Chen, with his remarkable scientific accomplishments and excellent reputation in immunology, will be honored the first chair.

Bayer already has a record of successful partnerships involving academic institutions in China. One example of joint scientific projects is the research cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 with China's leading research institution, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The aim of this cooperation is to intensify academic exchange in research and development and to improve mutual access to each other's excellent research facilities. Since then, Bayer has also entered into cooperation agreements with other academic institutions. At Tongji University in Shanghai, for example, the company sponsors a Chair for Intellectual Property Rights and a Chair for Sustainable Development, and at the China-Europe International Business School in Shanghai a Chair for Marketing and Strategy.

"The endowed chair professorship at Tsinghua University is the first chair in life sciences funded by Bayer in China," said Dr. Jennifer Hu, Head of Global Drug Discovery - Innovation Center China, Bayer HealthCare. "The establishment serves as another example for Bayer's commitment to support world class research achievements."

About the Bayer-Tsinghua Joint Research Center for Innovative Drug Discovery (BTC)
In 2009, Bayer HealthCare established a strategic partnership with the Tsinghua University - Institute of Biomedicine. Driven by their joint interest to improve treatment options for patients through innovation, the two partners established the "Bayer-Tsinghua (Institute of Biomedicine) Joint Research Center for Innovative Drug Discovery" (BTC). The center is headed by Professor Shi Yigong, Dean of School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University.

About Bayer HealthCare
The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 17.2 billion (2011), is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Medical Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover, develop, manufacture and market products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Bayer HealthCare has a global workforce of 55,700 employees (Dec 31, 2011) and is represented in more than 100 countries.