sundiahead.jpgSundia MediTech, one of China's growing band of pharmaceutical outsourcing firms, is seeking to move up the value chain by acquiring innovative drug discovery technology.

Shanghai-based Sundia has acquired the Protein Folding Shape Code (PFSC) technology of Microtech Nano, a US nanotechnology research outfit set up by Dr Jiaan Yang. As part of the deal, Dr Yang, who has worked in the US for 26 years, joins Sundia as VP for drug discovery.

Protein chemists and biologists have long struggled to obtain a complete description of the 3D structures of proteins, which have irregular shapes of loops and coils.

Dr. Yang, trained as a physical chemist and has considerable experience in bioinformatics, the application of computers to biology and biochemistry. He decided to apply mathematics to the challenge. The so-called Protein Folding Shape Code (PFSC) provides a complete description of a protein's 3D structure, and he developed computer software to process protein data.

Sundia's chairman and CEO Xiaochuan Wang said:

With PFSC, Sundia can serve our client companies new drug discovery needs more effectively. Scientists like Dr Yang, who has a solid scientific skill set, as well as a strong business mindset and entrepreneurial spirit will greatly enhance our CRO service level.”

The move is hardly likely to give western pharma giants sleepless nights, but it is indicative of how China's growing number of pharmaceutical contract research organisations (CROs) are trying to boost their skills and technology so that they can better compete with established rivals in the west.