Ferring Institute of Reproductive Medicine advances innovative translational research by promoting industry-research collaboration

July 12, 2021, Beijing - The Ferring Institute of Reproductive Medicine (FIRM) successfully held a Media Day event under the theme of reproductive health in Beijing, ahead of World Population Day on July 11, to discuss reproductive health research and innovative translational research in reproductive medicine in China. Prof. Baoyang Hu, Executive Director, Institute for Stem Cell and Regeneration (ISCR), CAS, Dr. Henk Jan Out, Chief Scientific Officer, Asia-Pacific at Ferring Pharmaceuticals, and experts from FIRM-funded projects attended the event.

With World Population Day around the corner, challenges such as the low the birth rate and aging population prompted renewed concerns about population issues after the results of China’s seventh National Census was published. The country has in recent years optimized its population policy to cope with the aging population. However, the infertility rate among women aged over 35 years remains to be an issue, according to China’s National Health Commission.

There are approximately 47.7 million infertile couples in China, of which 20% require the help of the assisted reproductive technology1, a report from Frost and Sullivan found, indicating huge clinical demand and a giant market as millions of patients eagerly anticipate a new generation of innovative reproduction technologies and drugs.

Founded by ISCR and Ferring Pharmaceuticals in 2017, FIRM combines China's leading research capabilities and specialty platforms with Ferring Pharmaceuticals’ focus on clinical insights and industry capabilities accumulated over years to improve reproductive and maternal health. FIRM conducts basic research on areas related to reproduction, promotes translational research, and provides solutions for China’s growing reproductive health needs.

FIRM has set up the ISCR-Ferring Reproductive Health Fund to support basic and translational reproductive research in China by integrating resources and collaborating internationally. Since 2018, Ferring has funded FIRM with a total of US$20 million grant to support its innovative reproductive health research.

The projects, supported by both FIRM and Ferring, focus on urgent clinical needs and basic and translational research on reproductive medicine, with the resulting intellectual property rights held by the participating Chinese institutions. To date, FIRM has funded 45 projects, covering 23 research units across 11 cities in China. Its areas of interest encompass placenta biology, uterine biology and infertility/pathologies, gametogenesis and male/female infertility, next-generation ART as well as its applications.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, FIRM also solicited, for the first time, special research projects on the pandemic and reproductive health from Chinese scholars in reproductive biology and reproductive medicine, 4 of which were selected and granted after evaluation by global experts in May 2020.

“The institute’s long-term collaboration focuses on scientific research in reproductive medicine and maternal health that aims to find new treatments for fertility and pregnancy-related diseases,” said Dr. Henk Jan Out. “Leveraging ISCR’ strengths in basic biological research, we are striving to discover the pathogenesis of diseases and explore novel technologies in stem cell research and regenerative medicine, as well as identifying new targets for drug discovery. Meanwhile, drawing on Ferring's rich clinical experience, we will work together to promote clinical translation, which will ultimately benefit more Chinese patients.”