The Hamner Institutes For Health Sciences, Ascletis, Inc. Sign Memorandum Of Understanding

Top Quote Agreement Makes Ascletis First Chinese Investor-Backed Drug Development Company To Operate Both In The United States And China. End Quote
  • Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT (1888PressRelease) July 21, 2011 - The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences ( and Ascletis, Inc. ( have signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding that supports the first large-scale joint venture in biotechnology between North Carolina and China's Zhejiang Province by having Ascletis establish its U.S. research and development headquarters on The Hamner's campus in Research Triangle Park. Ascletis, a global specialty therapeutics company dedicated to discovering and developing important new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases, will license the rights to late-stage experimental and commercial drugs for China as part of its efforts as well. The Hamner will support Ascletis in establishing its U.S. research and development center on its 56-acre campus, while Ascletis will maintain other operations at the National High Tech Industry Development Zone in Hangzhou, China, part of the Zhejiang Province.

    The president and CEO of Ascletis is Dr. Jinzi J. Wu, previously vice president and head of global HIV drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline, who has a Ph.D. in cancer biology from the University of Arizona. He will manage the firm at both The Hamner and High-Tech Park campuses.

    At the same MOU signing event, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Mr. Zhao Hongzhu, Party Secretary of Zhejiang Province and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress, to foster business and economic development and trade opportunities through commercial interaction in sectors where the parties have identified common interests. This agreement specifically reflects the commitment of the governments of North Carolina and Zhejiang to promote and produce jobs in biotechnology that will benefit both the Research Triangle Park and Hangzhou, China's National High Tech Industry Development Zone. The memorandum recognizes future opportunities for life science organizations such as The Hamner and Ascletis to partner and thrive in North Carolina.

    "We look forward to supporting Ascletis in establishing its U.S. operations within The Hamner campus and providing the resources to enable the company's success as the first major Chinese investor-backed drug development company to operate both in the United States and China," said Dr. William Greenlee, president and CEO of The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences. "We believe that this relationship with Ascletis has the potential to provide a model for similarly focused international endeavors in the future."

    "As part of The Hamner's mission to become a global leader in translational life sciences research, innovation and training, the organization has worked closely with government and policy makers to build strong business ties between the United States and China, including the establishment of The Hamner-China Biosciences Center and its proprietary network of working relationships with the government, industry and academic institutions of China," said Dr. Wu. "Being familiar with both the needs of the growing Chinese middle class and the promising drug candidates available for treatments in the United States, I knew that Ascletis needed a presence in both countries to succeed, and I am proud that The Hamner has provided the opportunity for me and our team to continue to work in the Research Triangle Park and collaborate with the world-leading research organizations like The Hamner. My goal is to ensure that Ascletis develops drugs that show potential for treating cancer, tuberculosis and other diseases into late-stage clinical trials and eventually out on the market to benefit society as a whole."

    - The Hamner's Twitter page

    - Drs. Greenlee and Wu attended the MOU signing on July 16 at The Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City along with Gov. Beverly Perdue, Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco, and members of the Zhejiang Province delegation. The signing ceremony occurred as part of the U.S.-China Governors Forum held in Utah.

    - With the assistance of Ascletis co-founder and Chinese billionaire Jinxing Qi, Wu has successfully completed raising $100 million in Series A financing in 2011 for Ascletis, including a first tranche of $50 million.

    The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences is a nonprofit research organization located in the heart of Research Triangle Park (RTP), N.C. The two flagship institutes at The Hamner, the Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences and the Hamner-UNC Institute for Drug Safety Sciences, build upon 35 years of preeminent research in toxicology and human health research to develop and validate new cutting-edge tools for safety assessment. Novel technologies currently being developed include in silico models for predictive toxicology, in vitro models that utilize human cells or cell lines to evaluate perturbations of cellular responses, and in vivo models to elucidate genes that play a role in susceptibility to drug-induced toxicities. The Hamner continues to grow its open, multidisciplinary campus through global partnerships with academia, industry, and government, and remains dedicated to positively impacting human health. For more information, please visit

    Ascletis is a joint venture between U.S. and Chinese entrepreneurs aimed at building a global specialty therapeutics business dedicated to discovering and developing important new treatments for cancer and infectious diseases. Ascletis leverages U.S./European innovation and pharmaceutical/biotech strategic experience and China's capital efficiency with a goal of establishing in the near term a sustainable business and accelerated revenues through the in-licensing, late-stage clinical development, and commercialization of new medicines for the growing Chinese pharmaceutical marketplace. At the same time, the company is building long-term value through the discovery, demonstration of clinical proof-of-concept, and global partnering of novel therapeutics for life-threatening diseases. For more information, please visit

    Erin Smith
    MMI Public Relations
    (919) 233-6600
    erin ( @ ) mmipublicrelations dot com

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