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4 December, 2013 - 21:17 By News Desk

IXICO in China dementia alliance

Professor Derek Hill

IXICO plc, the brain health company formed via a reverse takeover into Cambridge plant biotech Phytopharm, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing Union Medical and Pharmaceutical General Corporation (UMP).

UMP is a fully owned subsidiary of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) and is its innovation arm.

IXICO and UMP plan to work together to deploy a neuroimaging informatics platform in China to support dementia diagnosis; to advance public understanding of dementia; and to use imaging biomarkers to enrich study populations to streamline the evaluation of new dementia treatments.

It is estimated that in China a significant majority of the dementia population remain undiagnosed and currently an estimated 6-10 million people have dementia (c.20-25 per cent of the world’s dementia cases), of which c.60 per cent of which have Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, the total annual healthcare costs for dementia are estimated at £5.5 billion and the annual loss to the economy is around £9 billion. The incidence rate of dementia is estimated to double over the next 20 years as the Chinese population ages and by 2040, the population with dementia in China is expected to equal the total in all high income countries.

IXICO’s chief executive, Professor Derek Hill, is a member of the British Prime Minister’s current trade delegation to China along with the Secretary of State for Health in England and other representatives from British business.

The MOU was signed by Steve Jiang on behalf of UMP and Derek Hill on behalf of IXICO at a UK-China healthcare strategic partnering event attended by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Hunt said: “Early diagnosis and high quality research into dementia are essential if we are to help people with the disease live well for as long as possible. It’s great to see a British company at the leading edge of technology for dementia research and diagnosis in the UK now exporting its expertise to China.”

Professor Hill added: “There is a large unmet need in China for earlier and more accurate diagnosis of dementia. China represents a large opportunity for IXICO: there are more dementia sufferers in China than in any other country in the world.

“This MOU is an important initial step to enable IXICO technology to be used to support improved dementia diagnosis and the development of new treatments for China’s current and future dementia sufferers.”

IXICO’s chairman is serial life sciences entrepreneur and investor, Andy Richards who continues to be a key influencer in the sector from his Cambridge base.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Professor Derek Hill

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