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AstraZeneca plc. (12/18/12). "Press Release: AstraZeneca and Fudan University Sign Research Collaboration in China". Shanghai.

Region Region China
Organisations Organisation AstraZeneca (Group)
  Organisation 2 Fudan University Shanghai
Products Product phytopharmaceutical
  Product 2 cardiovascular drug

AstraZeneca today announced the signing of a research collaboration with Fudan University, one of China's leading academic institutions in the area of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a leading cause of death in China and worldwide.

The research agreement focuses on pre-clinical studies to understand the mechanism of action of leonurine, a compound derived from Herba Leonuri, a herb used as a traditional Chinese medicine. Understanding the role of leonurine in CVDs such as chronic heart failure, ischemic stroke as well as atherosclerosis, may ultimately help in the development of novel medicines. China has over 100 million people with heart disease and is the 'diabetes capital of the world' with over 92 million adults suffers. CVDs are a major complication of diabetes - about 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke1.

Principal Investigator for the research at Fudan University, Professor of Pharmacology and Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Dr Yi-Zhun Zhu, said "We're delighted to be collaborating with AstraZeneca, a world-leader in biopharmaceutical innovation. Understanding the structure and properties of natural substances may open doors to potential drug targets and provide innovative pathways to explore in the fight against major health burdens including CVD."

Under the terms of the agreement, Fudan University scientists will work in collaboration with teams from AstraZeneca's Cardiovascular and Gastrointestinal Innovative Medicines group over the next two years. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Dr. Steve Yang, AstraZeneca's Head of R&D for Asia and Emerging Markets, commented,
"Partnering and collaborating with scientists, biotech companies and best-in-class academic institutions like Fudan University brings our Asia R&D strategy to life by helping us harness the increasing levels of innovation we see coming out of China and other emerging markets."

Dr. Gunnar Olsson, Head of AstraZeneca's Cardiovascular and Gastrointestinal Innovative Medicines, commented, "Our collaboration with Fudan University aims to shed new light on some very promising cardiovascular effects seen with leonurine. Better molecular understanding of its mode of action may open up new opportunities for drug discovery."

- ENDS -

Media Enquiries

Vince Docherty (Hong Kong)
t: +852 9470 5983

Birte Sebastian (Shanghai)
t: +86 (0)21 6109 2297
m: +86 (0)147 8199 5093


About Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases remain the greatest risk to life for adults, accounting for 17 million deaths worldwide each year. It is now estimated that the total number of people living with diabetes globally will reach 380 million (7.3%) in 2025 from 246 million (6.0%) currently.

From atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and atrial fibrillation (cardiac arrhythmia) to diabetes, diabetic nephropathy and obesity, AstraZeneca is using its world-leading expertise to develop products that could be vital in the fight against cardiovascular diseases both in the developed and developing world.

About Leonurine

Leonurine is an active alkaloid in Herba Leonuri, also known as motherwort or 'Yi-Mu-Cao' in Chinese, the dried aerial part of leonurus heterophyllus a perennial shrub. In preclinical models, leonurine has recently been confirmed to be effective against cardiovascular conditions such as acute and chronic myocardial infarction2-4, ischemic stroke5 & 6, as well as atherosclerosis7 & 8.

About Fudan University

The internationally renowned Fudan University, one of the China leading academic institutions, was founded in 1905. In April 2000 it merged with China's distinguished Shanghai Medical University to form the new Fudan University. It plays a key role in both education and drug discovery in China.

The University's School of Pharmacy is one of the country's most influential schools of its kind. Now located at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Zone in Shanghai, it covers an area of approximately 320,000 square meters and is a centre of excellence in cardiovascular, cancer and infection research. The China-listed pharmaceutical company Forward Pharma was incubated and formed by School of Pharmacy.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:

About AstraZeneca in China

AstraZeneca is one of the leading biopharmaceutical companies in China.

In June 2012, the company opened a new 26,700 square metre facility in Shanghai's Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park, which serves as the company's headquarters for China and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as being one of AstraZeneca's three main, global headquarters alongside Wilmington, Delaware, USA and London, UK.

The Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park also houses the AstraZeneca R&D facility, the Innovation Center China whose mission is to deliver candidate drugs and ultimately Proof of Concepts and valuable medicines to address the significant unmet medical needs of patients in Asia. AstraZeneca's China Clinical Operations Hub which delivers global, regional and China studies across a number of therapy areas from phase I to phase III, is also based in Shanghai. The company also has a manufacturing site in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province and will open a new manufacturing facility in China Medical City, Taizhou, Jiangsu province in 2013.


1. Factsheet, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program
2. Liu, X. H.; Pan, L. L.; Chen, P. F.; Zhu, Y. Z. Leonurine improves ischemia-induced myocardial injury through antioxidative activity. Phytomedicine. 17: 753-759; 2010.
3. Liu, X.; Pan, L.; Gong, Q.; Zhu, Y. Leonurine (SCM-198) improves cardiac recovery in rat during chronic infarction. Eur J Pharmacol. 649: 236-241; 2010.
4. Liu, X. H.; Xin, H.; Hou, A. J.; Zhu, Y. Z. Protective effects of leonurine in neonatal rat hypoxic cardiomyocytes and rat infarcted heart. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 36: 696-703; 2009.
5. Loh, K. P.; Qi, J.; Tan, B. K.; Liu, X. H.; Wei, B. G.; Zhu, Y. Z. Leonurine protects middle cerebral artery occluded rats through antioxidant effect and regulation of mitochondrial function. Stroke. 41: 2661-2668; 2010.
6. Qi, J.; Hong, Z. Y.; Xin, H.; Zhu, Y. Z. Neuroprotective effects of leonurine on ischemia/reperfusion-induced mitochondrial dysfunctions in rat cerebral cortex. Biol Pharm Bull. 33: 1958-1964; 2010.
7. Liu, X.; Pan, L.; Wang, X.; Gong, Q.; Zhu, Y. Z. Leonurine protects against tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated inflammation in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Atherosclerosis. 222: 34-42; 2012.
8. Zhang, Y.; Guo, W.; Wen, Y.; Xiong, Q.; Liu, H.; Wu, J.; Zou, Y.; Zhu, Y. SCM-198 attenuates early atherosclerotic lesions in hypercholesterolemic rabbits via modulation of the inflammatory and oxidative stress pathways. Atherosclerosis. 224: 43-50; 2012.

Record changed: 2019-06-09


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