The Innovation Center for Immune Therapy of Tsinghua University (ICIT) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) announced the recent signing of a cooperation agreement. Being ICIT's first strategic partner, BMS will launch close cooperation with ICIT on the innovative drug development in the field of immunotherapy. The cooperation will unite the strength in basic scientific research of Tsinghua University and the expertise in drug development of BMS. The joint force will streamline the process from research discoveries to translational pipelines. By working closely together, the research team in Tsinghua University and BMS will strive to develop innovative medicines and address the high medical needs of patients with serious diseases.
According to statistical studies, China has become one of the largest economies funding technology and science . However, despite the fact that both sci-tech talent pool and patent filings rank first in the world [2,3,4], there is still a large gap on the degree of commercialization of scientific and technical research findings between China and the developed countries. To overturn the current situation, the State Council in China issued regulations on implementing the Law of the PRC on Promoting the Translation of Scientific and Technological Achievements in February 2016, with the goal of nurturing a culture of innovation and creating more favorable environment for transfer of scientific and technical findings from research to new products and services.
 Statistical report on national science and technology funding in 2015
 Science and Technology Talent Development Report of China (2014)
 World Intellectual Property Indicators for 2015
 Ruofei Wang, on the low commercialization rate of scientific and technological findings in China and countermeasures, "Journal of Chongqing University of Science and Technology (Social Science Edition)", 2012, No. 2, 97
In this context, ICIT unites with BMS in the field of immunotherapy, aiming to accelerate the pace at which basic research discoveries are translated into applications that improve human health locally and globally. "Since its establishment, ICIT has been working to collaborate with world-leading multinational pharmaceutical companies, including BMS." Prof. Chen Dong, Director of the Institute for Immunology at Tsinghua University, remarked during the signing ceremony. “This collaboration will facilitate translational research in Tsinghua University, provide opportunities for entrepreneurship in clinical application of basic scientific findings, amass valuable intellectual properties, and deliver broad social benefits.”
As a global biopharmaceutical company that "discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases", BMS takes the initiative to address a range of major diseases and has become a world leader in tumor immunotherapy. “Under the leadership of Dr. Chen Dong, the Institute for Immunology in Tsinghua University has made remarkable achievements in innovative research.” Dr. Litao Zhang, the Vice President of Discovery from BMS Headquarter, said. “BMS has a long-term partnership with Tsinghua University. The new strategic collaboration with ICIT will energize the business development of BMS in China, and promote synergy between our global innovation roadmap and local strategy. The cooperation will provide a fast-track for patients to gain access to innovative drugs, and fulfill unmet needs in severe disease treatment.”
Tsinghua University has been building a strong research team in the field of immunology since a few years ago, through talent recruitment across the world into the Institute for Immunology of Tsinghua University, led by the prominent immunologist Professor Dong Chen. A series of research achievements have been made in recent years in the areas of humoral immunity, autoimmune diseases, tumor immunity and allergic diseases. The original findings were published in "Nature", "Immunity", "Nature Immunology" and a number of other journals.