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START opens cancer center in Shanghai, China
September 19, 2011

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START), which operates one of the world's largest Phase I medical oncology programs, has expanded its presence internationally.

The San Antonio-based organization has opened START Shanghai - China's first Phase I cancer research center.

START has partnered with the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center to develop the new facilities. START officials say the ground-breaking partnership fills a gap in addressing China's vast anti-tumor drug clinical research needs and helps further that country's involvement in early drug development.

The new center will also help START meet its goal of being able to conduct 24-hour cancer research.

The new START Shanghai is located at Fudan University, home of Shanghai's largest cancer hospital.

"This is just the beginning," says Dr. Anthony Tolcher, co-founder and president of START and chairman of START Shanghai. "We plan to transform the way cancer clinical trials are done because our patients, all around the world, need more effective medicines."

START plans to open Phase I centers in strategic locations around the globe. Officials say this new model allows for a "profoundly different" approach to cancer research and will result in faster completion of phase I clinical research.

China has recently emerged globally as the third-largest pharmaceutical market, with a population of 1.3 billion people and a rapidly expanding economy.

In 2010, START expanded to Madrid, Spain.

Tolcher says this latest expansion represents a "momentous achievement" for San Antonio and will bring worldwide attention to the city's exceptional biomedical assets.

"San Antonio can be a world leader, and should never believe it is in the shadow of any other city," says Tolcher about the impact START's expansion could have on the Alamo City and its aspirations in the bioscience arena.

"The opening of START Shanghai is another excellent example of the extraordinary international impact of San Antonio's biomedical sector," says BioMed SA Chairman Kenneth P. Trevett. "We are changing the paradigm for clinical care and research, and lives are being saved as a result."

START Shanghai will occupy approximately 7,000 square feet of space on the 4th floor of the Fudan Cancer Hospital.

Carol Zhu will serve as CEO for START Shanghai.

Dr. Junning Cao will serve as clinical director for the new center.

"Our work here will give China the early clinical research data to compete in the global drug development, to help make available China's homegrown new anticancer drugs abroad and give Chinese cancer patients access to the newest anticancer drugs," says Zhu.


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