AstraZeneca and Tianjin Medical University sign cardiovascular research collaboration in China

Thursday, 15 May 2014

SHANGHAI, 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.2

“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.”


About Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease remains the greatest risk to life for adults, accounting for 17 million deaths worldwide each year. It is now estimated that the total number of people living with diabetes globally will reach 380 million (7.3%) in 2025 from 246 million (6.0%) currently.

AstraZeneca is using its world-leading expertise to develop products that could be vital in the fight against cardiovascular disease both in the developed and developing world. We focus our early stage, investigational cardiovascular and metabolic small molecule research on three strategic areas: Cardiac Regeneration, Islet Health (diabetes) and Diabetic Nephropathy. Within these disease areas we aim to develop therapies that will stop, cure or slow down disease progression.

About Tianjin Medical University

TMU, established in 1951, was the first medical university since the founding of New China, it soon becomes the Medical Centre in Northern and Northeast China. Now, TMU is the only medical university among the national key universities of the “211 project” in China. It has 17 schools, 7 university hospitals and there are more than 10,000 full-time undergraduate, and graduate students in 15 majors. TMU has established the relationships of academic exchange and scientific collaboration with 73 universities in 16 countries. For more information please visit:

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:

About AstraZeneca in China

AstraZeneca entered China in 1993 and remains committed to meeting the healthcare needs of Chinese patients. Our headquarters are in Shanghai and we have more than 8,000 employees throughout the country, including manufacturing facilities in Wuxi and Taizhou and a state-of the-art research facility in Shanghai. Our scientists are committed to discovering and developing candidate drugs to meet the unique needs of patients in Asia, with a strong focus in oncology. In addition, our translational science team aims to understand how diseases impact the body and help develop targeted drugs for the right patients from the earliest stages of research, across all our key disease areas. AstraZeneca’s China Clinical Operations Hub, which delivers global, regional and China studies across a number of therapy areas from phase I to phase III, is also based in Shanghai, along with the China Global Medicines Development team.



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Birte Sebastian


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1 Journal of American Medical Association, Sep 4, 2013
2 Factsheet, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program


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