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Lilly to open Chinese diabetes centre

Eli Lilly and Company is to open a research centre in China focused on the discovery of new medicines to treat diabetes

US-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company is to open a research centre in China focused on the discovery of new medicines to treat diabetes.

The centre will open in Shanghai in the second half of 2011, with around 100 employees in place for its launch.

Dr Jan Lundberg, executive vice president, science and technology, and president, Lilly Research Laboratories, commented on the company's attempts to develop its diabetes presence in China: "We are establishing this research centre, first and foremost, to meet the growing unmet medical needs of those living in China with diabetes."

"This centre will complement our existing network of collaborations in China and also will enable us to further gain the insights of China's talented scientists inside and outside of Lilly as we further explore a disease state in need of new and innovative therapies."

Shanghai native and vice president of research for Lilly Research Laboratories in China, Dr Bei Betty Zhang will lead work at the centre, aiming to discover new compounds which could potentially become breakthrough therapies for diabetes.

Specific work will include researching medicines to better control blood glucose levels without hypoglycaemia, and developing therapies that also address additional conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

"Given key differences in the molecular basis of diabetes in Chinese and other Asian populations, a major focus at this centre will be on discovering therapies that target critical aspects of the disease," said Dr David Moller , vice president of endocrine and cardiovascular research and clinical investigation at Lilly.

News of the centre comes two months after Novo Nordisk also announced intentions to expand its diabetes research efforts in China with the launch of a Diabetes Research Unit in Beijing.

A recent New England Journal of Medicine article estimated 92 million adults in the country have diabetes – 10 per cent of the adult population. The article described such levels as 'epidemic proportions', with an increased need for national strategies aimed at the prevention, detection, and treatment of the condition in the general Chinese population.

2nd November 2010

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