UC Davis Health has entered into an agreement with Top Grade Health Care to establish a translational research and development center to advance the treatment of patients with cancer.
At a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Friday, Jan. 6, officials from UC Davis Health and Top Grade signed the 10-year agreement, which will provide the Chinese company nearly 8,000 square feet of space in the university’s Institute for Regenerative Cures building on the health system’s Sacramento campus. Under the agreement, Top Grade will collaborate with faculty in the departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology, and other university departments.
“We are very pleased and excited to enter a partnership with Top Grade,” said Lars Berglund, associate vice chancellor for Biomedical Research for UC Davis School of Medicine. “Their strengths are ideally aligned with some of our clinical and research capabilities. We expect that the partnership will lead to new innovations that benefit patients and also positively add to the Sacramento biotech environment.”
The company anticipates an initial research team of 10-15 people in the UC Davis lab, and is developing a plan to assemble a 45,000-square-foot manufacturing operation in the Sacramento region for the manufacturing and distribution of nuclear medicine radiation therapy equipment.
Richard Valicenti, chair of the UC Davis Department of Radiation Oncology, and a member of the faculty team who met with company officials last year, said the company’s high-energy linear accelerator aims to provide imaging concurrently with radiation therapy. He said this approach could someday benefit patients by more accurately targeting tumors based on the tumor’s metabolic characteristics ̶ not solely on abnormalities noted on the images.
“This could be a research opportunity for UC Davis and an opportunity to participate in clinical trials using this new technology,” said Valicenti.
UC Davis representatives traveled to China for the agreement signing, which took place at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and was hosted by Ambassador Max Baucus.
“This exciting project is another significant step in a movement to broaden partnering with industry in life sciences, biotech, pharma and medical device research and development,” said Mark Romney, the research facilities planner who led the lease arrangement negotiations for UC Davis.
The agreement also helps pave the way for other biotech partnerships between UC Davis and private partners.
“Our collaboration with Top Grade means that virtually all of the health system’s collaborative space is filled and that we now have a perfect launching point for the next phase of our translational program, which is the expansion of research facilities to enable even more collaborations with industry partners,” added James Kovach, director of Translational Entrepreneurship and Industry Research Alliances.
In addition to its headquarters and main research and development center based in Beijing, Top Grade has a subsidiary in Sweden.