Professor Cheng wins innovation award for startup
Frontiers Specialty Chief Editor’s startup Yiviva, developing therapeutics inspired by botanical medicines, wins Innovation Award at the USA-China Health Summit
— By Hedwig Ens
The biotechnology startup Yiviva develops therapeutics inspired by botanical medicines, to treat chronic diseases and cancer. Based on research from Yung-Chi Cheng, professor of Pharmacology at Yale University and Co-Specialty Chief Editor of specialty section Ethnopharmacology in Frontiers in Pharmacology, the startup won the latest Innovation Award at the sixth US-China Health Summit in Xi’an, China.
The main substance developed by Yiviva, called YIV906, is a herbal mixture based on a 1800-year old traditional Chinese medicine formula. “Our new paradigm for drug discovery is to revisit history and rediscover new medicines,” Prof. Cheng explains. “Chinese medicine happens to have many of the polychemical, poly-target, holistic characteristics we are interested in.”
The development of YIV906 is based on patented research from Prof. Cheng’s lab. In various clinical studies, YIV906 has shown to increase the safety and efficacy of a broad spectrum of cancer treatments. Moreover, it may reduce the harmful side effects of chemotherapy. The company is currently setting up Phase II clinical trials in both China and the US.
The US-China Health Summit brings together policymakers, academics, and industry professionals for direct dialogues and discussions on the rapidly transforming global health sector. This 6th Summit was themed “Health for all through innovation” with a special focus on ‘Healthy China’. Participants discussed among others on innovative healthcare delivery models, cutting edge medical and health technology, and precision and holistic medicine.
“They were looking for early-stage companies, future innovators that can have an impact in the U.S. and China,” Peikwen Cheng, a co-founder of Yiviva, explains. “The recognition of our company’s drug development technology at the US-China Health Summit says something about the value our work has. We are accelerating discovery by learning from traditional medicines—using modern science to develop poly target botanical medicines to address complex diseases.”
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