Bayer HealthCare AGBayer HealthCare AG, Germany, and Tsinghua University in Beijing, China have signed a comprehensive collaboration agreement to enter into a strategic partnership. The two partners will establish a joint research center at Tsinghua University, the Bayer-Tsinghua (Institute of Biomedicine) Research Center of Innovative Drug Discovery.

Professor Yigong Shi, a renowned structural biologist, currently director of the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology and vice dean of the Institute of Biomedicine of Tsinghua University, was appointed director of this joint Research Center.

"Complementing our own capabilities, strategic alliances with international innovation partners from academia are one essential element of our R&D strategy," said professor Andreas Busch, head of Global Drug Discovery and member of the Board of Management of Bayer Schering Pharma AG, the pharmaceutical division of Bayer HealthCare. "We are very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the excellent scientists at Tsinghua University."

The newly established joint Research Center is part of an initiative of Bayer HealthCare's new R&D Center in Beijing where its scientists from the Global Drug Discovery – Innovation Center expedite new innovative approaches for the discovery of new therapies through research collaborations. At the Bayer-Tsinghua Research Center, scientists from the Institute of Biomedicine, the Department of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, the School of Medicine, and the Department of Chemistry of Tsinghua University will collaborate with scientists from Bayer Schering Pharma's Global Drug Discovery along the drug discovery and development value chain in the therapeutic research areas of oncology, women's health, diagnostic imaging, and cardiology. Through this collaboration, Tsinghua scientists will make substantial contributions with their research findings to the discovery of new medicines.

"We will immediately start with the faculty recruiting and selection process for our joint research center assembling a highly skilled and motivated team of scientists to facilitate an inspiring and innovative environment," said Prof Yigong Shi, the newly appointed director of the Bayer-Tsinghua Research Center. "We plan to officially inaugurate the joint center after the first groups of faculty members are confirmed."

As part of this strategic partnership, Bayer Schering Pharma is planning to promote life science education as well as to reward scientific excellence at Tsinghua. For these purposes two funds will be launched: a 'Student Fund' and a 'Faculty Fund'. The 'Student Fund' will enable a variety of Bayer sponsored life science programs at Tsinghua, including student and scientist exchange programs between Tsinghua and Bayer Schering Pharma. The 'Faculty Fund' will reward creative individuals for their significant contributions to life sciences and cutting-edge research in drug discovery, in particular in the fields of Bayer Schering Pharma's core therapeutic areas.

"The initiation of the cooperation with Tsinghua University is a very important step for us in the establishment of a strong collaboration network with our Chinese partners," said Andreas Busch.