Anti-cancer clinical trial specialist, South Texas Accelerated Therapeutics (START), has collaborated with China's largest cancer hospital to open a new Phase I cancer research center.
Located at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, the facility is the first in China to meet the standards of all three of the major national regulatory agencies: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Product Evaluation Agency (EMEA) and China's own State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA).
Anthony Tolcher, president of US-based START, said the announcement was "just the beginning", with further developments planned for the near future.
"We plan to transform the way cancer clinical trials are done, because our patients, all around the world, need more effective medicines," he said.
START claims the facility, which was first announced in February, will help meet China's vast anti-tumour drug clinical research needs and help contribute towards the company's goal of delivering round-the-clock cancer research.
Tackling a global problem
China's burgeoning economy and population of over 1.3bn people has seen the country rapidly emerge as the world's third largest pharmaceutical market. The company says cancer is "a global problem that can only be solved by a global integrated research strategy."
Jin Li of Fudan University's department of medical oncology said the center would strive for excellence from the outset.
"The Fudan-START Phase I center aims to become the most respected Phase I cancer centre in China," he said.
Carol Zhu, who will serve as CEO of START Shanghai, was similarly effusive in her assessment of the research hub and its plans for the future.
"Fudan-START Shanghai Phase I clinical research center is committed to continuing the building of START's overall international standard of clinical research platforms," she said.
"Our work here will give China the early clinical research data to compete in global drug development, to help make available China's home-grown new anti-cancer drugs abroad, and give Chinese cancer patients access to the newest anti-cancer drugs."
START Shanghai will occupy roughly 7,000 sq ft of dedicated space on the fourth floor of Fudan Cancer Hospital.
The center will have eight beds, eight treatments chairs with the option to expand to 12, plus a facility for pharmacokinetic (PK) study.
It is the second expansion of its kind for the San Antonio-based company in recent years, having already opened a similar Phase I test center in Madrid, Spain, in 2010.