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Yabao goes bold

China-based Yabao Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. and MRC Technology are jointly going where Western pharmas and academics fear to tread with a preclinical partnership to develop compounds against an undisclosed kinase target for Parkinson's disease.

The boldness is on both sides. According to Michael Dalrymple, MRC Technology (MRCT) had trouble signing up Western companies because they saw too much risk in its PD program to invest at this stage. "We couldn't get traction in the West because although companies thought it was interesting, it was too early stage for them," he said.

He added, "The natural conservatism of Western pharmas came to the fore, but the Chinese were excited about taking this forward."

Dalrymple is director of business development at MRCT,an independent translational organization that handles the technology transfer needs of the U.K.’s Medical Research Council.

Likewise, Dalrymple said, there is still trepidation among many academic organizations over partnering with Chinese companies on discovery-stage programs. He put that down in part to concerns that programs will stall because the R&D infrastructure is less well developed in China than in the West. However, he sees this alliance as an opportunity for Yabao to expand its capabilities and for his organization to build trust that he hopes to parlay into more deals in the future.

In the deal announced in late November, MRCT will supply the compound structures,

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