Firm sets up research subsidiary and cancer biomarker program.

Transgene has created a subsidiary in China to conduct early-stage R&D. The company also introduced Immunocan, a program that aims at increasing the translational medical research cooperation between European countries and China.

Transgene has set up its subsidiary Transgene Biopharmaceuticals Technology in Shanghai. It has a staff of five people. Transgene, a member of the Institut Mérieux Group, is a publicly traded French biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapeutic products in oncology and infectious diseases and has four compounds in Phase II clinical development. Development of Transgene’s more mature R&D programs for the Chinese market will be conducted in the context of Transgene Tasly (Tianjin) Biopharmecutical, the 50/50 joint venture formed in 2010 by Transgene with the Chinese pharmaceutical group Tianjin Tasly Pharmaceutical.

Transgene also reported that Immunocan recently received approval from the European Commission as an FP7 (Seventh Framework Program) funded research program. Immunocan will focus on conducting research to identify immunological characteristics in Chinese cancer patients that can be used as prognostic biomarkers. The Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Centre (China), the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), the IRCCS (Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori) Foundation (Italy), and the Medizinische Hochschule from Hannover are associated in this collaborative program.

Immunocan will be conducted in the laboratories of the joint institute for cancer research of the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Centre and Institut Mérieux (FDUSCC-IM) in Shanghai, in which Transgene is also a partner. Under this FP7-sponsored program, the goal of the partners and of the European Commission is to build a Euro-Asian reference center for medical and scientific research on cancer.

“China is important to Transgene’s development strategy as we expect the local market to rapidly become one of the major biopharmaceutical markets,” remarks Philippe Archinard, chairman and CEO of Transgene. “In parallel to the investments we will be making under our joint venture company with Tasly, we expect to invest further in discovery activities in this region so as to take advantage of the tremendous research effort being conducted there in state-of-the-art academic laboratories.

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