Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will open a new research unit in China to look at traditional Chinese medicine.
According to the company, Innovative TCM will be one of GSK's R&D programs in China, aiming to transform TCM from an experience-based practice to evidence-based medicines through innovation and differentiation.
"Traditional chinese medicine is a well-established system of medical practice developed through thousands of years of empirical testing and refinement of herbal mixtures, and relies generally on clinical experience," said Zang Jingwu, senior vice president and head of R&D China.
"Western medicines, on the other hand, are generally target-based small molecules or biologics, and their approvals for clinical use are based on clinical evidence of safety and efficacy by staged clinical trials," he said.
He said the newly formed unit is working with academic TCM experts in China to develop new TCM products for the benefits of patients in China and the rest of the world.
The strategy is to integrate the existing TCM knowledge of diseases with modern drug discovery technology and clinical trial methodology.
"We are developing novel therapeutic TCM mixtures as prescription medicines through innovative extraction methods and combinations, and we use clinical data/evidence to differentiate from existing TCM products on the market," he said.
The company's R&D China centre was founded in 2007 with a focus on neurosciences. So far, the centre has developed into a fully integrated global R&D organisation in China to deliver medicine globally and for China.