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Chinese University of Hong Kong Gets Boost for Biomedical Tech R&D

Image Credits: CUHK, Press Release

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has received a donation of HK$ 150 million from a Hong Kong-based charitable organisation. The donation will be supported by funding and in-kind contributions at CUHK to establish a development fund valued at HK$ 300 million in the Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine) to support research and development in biomedical technology.

Many of the world’s healthcare systems are struggling under the weight of an ageing population. Concurrently, infectious diseases like COVID-19 and the fallout from the pandemic pose imminent threats to global health. To manage these pressing challenges, the strengthening of medical research as well as the acceleration of the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical applications are crucial.

Given this, CU Medicine has launched the Passion for Perfection (P for P) Scheme to accelerate the process of translating laboratory discovery into patient care – often referred to as a “bench to bedside” process, resulting in medical advances and improved human health. The P for P scheme will also strengthen and protect innovations and intellectual property development, and facilitate entrepreneurship at CUHK, leading to the enhancement and improvement of healthcare in Hong Kong.

The Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK noted that biomedical research and biotechnology development represent the driver of discoveries and best practices to improve quality of life, essential to societal well-being and economic prosperity in Hong Kong, the nation, and the world. He added that the gift will empower CUHK to build on its world-class strengths in innovative biomedicine, a key pillar of the 2021-25 Strategic Plan that aims for “Excellence with Purpose and Responsibility”, to break new grounds in frontier biomedical research and translational developments to transform patient care and public health.

Meanwhile, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of CUHK stated that through the donation, CU Medicine will launch an innovative “Passion for Perfection” (P for P) scheme, providing funding to support projects that have the potential to develop useful new diagnostic tools or therapeutic approaches.

CU Medicine will also strengthen its existing clinical trial centre to facilitate the clinical evaluation of these new tools and accelerate the translation of basic research outputs into clinical applications, thereby enhancing CUHK’s translational clinical research.

Specifically, two initiatives will be undertaken:

  1. Development of Prototypes of New Diagnostic or Therapeutic Approaches

A new funding scheme will be launched to support research on novel diagnostic tools that will enable patients to seek early medical treatment and significantly improve their chances of recovery. Research on the development of advanced therapeutic products, particularly those based on novel modalities such as cellular, genetic, and biologic agents, will also be supported. A sustainable innovation ecosystem will be in place to promote the establishment of start-ups such that outstanding research outcomes can be translated and commercialised.

  1. Enhancement of Infrastructure to Facilitate Clinical Validation of the New Approaches

Clinical evaluation in relevant patient cohorts is a key step to bring new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to routine clinical use. To expedite the “bench to bedside” process, a dedicated team will be established in the existing clinical trial centre, responsible for patient recruitment, clinical evaluation and timely reporting of patient progress, and monitoring of safety and emerging ethical issues. The goal is to increase the speed and efficiency of translating research discoveries to advances in patient care.

The Dean of Medicine at CUHK noted that since its establishment 40 years ago, the faculty has been upholding the core value of patient-centeredness and actively improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases through medical research. Their ultimate goal is that their discoveries in research can be practically applied in ways that matter to patients. The donation has greatly enhanced the University’s capability in this translational journey, allowing them to develop world-changing medical technologies for the benefit of patients and the well-being of humankind.

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