Cancer News Network

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

German drug maker looks for ancient Chinese cancer cure


The Independent – The German drugs giant Merck is seeking help from the world of traditional Chinese medicine to find a cure for cancer. The Chinese medicine company spun out of Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa, Chi-Med, will today unveil a potentially lucrative deal to research oncology on behalf of the German group.

Merck will pay Chi-Med to raid centuries of Chinese medical know how in search of a natural cancer-fighting product that it can turn into a marketable Western drug.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Chi-Med stands to reap tens of millions of pounds from the partnership if it comes up with a drug that is suitable to be put into trial.

Western pharmaceutical companies are increasingly outsourcing their drug discovery work, with many looking east for the solution to medical mysteries that Western doctors cannot solve.

Ulrich Betz, Merck's head of strategic innovation and research, said the partnership would allow the group to "extend its interaction with the emerging Chinese pharmaceutical industry".
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