The company IRE-ELiT (Fleurus, Belgium) a spin-off of IRE, could be paving the way for potential new innovative opportunities with China. IRE-ELiT has settled an agreement on an innovative project on the Chinese market for a “centralized radio-pharmacy ” supporting radiotherapy using Rhenium Re188 produced from Tungsten W188 generators (produced in Fleurus).
Initially, the therapy will address compassionate treatments and the phases of clinical research using Re 188 treatment, in particular for the treatment of liver cancers and bone metastases of which are very widespread in Asia. This trial phase is crucial for obtaining the marketing authorization necessary to allow faster development of these radio-therapeutic treatments. Although still in the study phase, this project could lead to investments with other Chinese partners in the development of a “centralized radio-pharmacy” as early as 2013.
This innovative IRE-ELiT project has emerged through the PIC-W (Platform of Innovation China-Wallonia) thanks to the combined support of AWEX Shanghai and BioWin Shanghai, as well as with the exploratory efforts and determination that IRE-ELiT itself, has shown in the fields of radio-pharmacy and nuclear medicine in China. The project is the first to integrate the new PIC-W Platform; established in Shanghai by the Wallonia Region and supported by AWEX, to help eager innovative SMEs enter the Chinese market in partnership mode by controlling some of the risks involved. An example of how the responsibilities are shared; standing fixed overhead costs of PIC-W Platform are not charged to the selected PIC-W projects, therefore the direct subsidized expenses up to 50% are assumed by AWEX. Also established in the project is a dedicated bilingual project manager specializing in the sector concerned, so as to develop the activity incubated in relation to Walloon SMEs under the local coaching of the General Management of the PIC-W Platform; for example, legal and administrative assistance for the project (see www.pic-w.com for details).
IRE-ELiT will of course continue to benefit from the support and expertise of AWEX Shanghai and BioWin Shanghai as necessary to insure the smooth success of its project.
The “centralized radio-pharmacy” could also benefit from the deliverables of the BioWin sponsored project Radiotarget. Launched in June 2011, this 4-year innovation project is focusing on the development of a new drug (monoclonal antibody) to be associated with Re188 for curing metastatic liver cancers. IRE-ELiT is assuming the leadership of this project involving academic partners.
BioWin Shanghai, alongside IRE-ELiT, AWEX and PIC-W, could proudly contribute to writing the first chapters of what will be, one hopes, a true success story for one of its members in Shanghai; a hub biotech/MedTech of world reputation where since 2009 the pole has installed a permanent representative and has tied strategic partnerships with two Chinese health organizations: Shanghai Biopharmaceutical Industry Association (SBIA) and Juke Biotech Park. This company, IRE-ELiT, through their efforts in implementation, dedication to innovation and notable patience in developing meaningful connections in China is proving to be worthy of its actions. Making use of these connections could allow for opportunities similar to that of IRE-ELiT and may continue to pave the way for more SME agreements and projects with the Chinese.
It seems the footprints that have been left by IRE-ELiT thus far, along with the successful networking between PIC-W, AWEX Shanghai and BioWin Shanghai, could be creating a smoother path for innovation and partnering on Chinese soil in the future. Let’s hope that there are others that will follow in their footsteps while the prints are still intact!
Philippe van Put
Business Unit Radiopharmaceuticals
Business Development Manager
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