Wake Forest Innovations and CHA Health Systems Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Broad-Based Partnership

August 6, 2013

Today in Seoul, Korea, Wake Forest Innovations, the commercialization arm of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CHA Health Systems for a broad-based partnership with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center including the development and commercialization of products arising from both  institutions.  A key component of this important collaboration envisioned is translational research that bridges the gap between the lab bench and clinical proof of concept.

“We are honored and privileged to have this opportunity to partner with CHA Health Systems,” says John D. McConnell, M.D., chief executive officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.  “Dr. K.Y. Cha, the founder and Chairman of CHA Health Systems Group, is a recognized pioneer in the fields of in vitro fertilization and regenerative medicine, and he has used his vision to build CHA Health Systems into a unique healthcare group that includes hospitals with more than 2,000 beds, a clinical contract research organization, autologous stem cell banking, GMP stem cell manufacturing, a medical university and commercial entities including biotech and pharma.  The collective capabilities of the members of the CHA Health Systems group, with clearly defined common goals, represent an ideal match for the innovative research conducted at Wake Forest. We expect that our researchers will provide a continuum of product opportunities in therapeutics and medical devices whose clinical proof of concept attracts further investments in development and commercialization.”

The unique clinical structure of CHA Health Systems was important to Wake Forest Innovations. CHA Health Systems allows it to conduct clinical trials in its own hospitals in a time-sensitive and cost-efficient manner and with the highest quality control standards. In addition to CHA Health Systems investing in achieving clinical proof of concept with products arising from Wake Forest, the MOU envisions Wake Forest can develop selective products cost efficiently by using CHA’s facilities and resources. Also, the MOU contemplates a number of other areas of collaboration, including potential cooperation in establishing in Winston-Salem, or other regions in the United States, facilities based on the CHAUM facility in Seoul, Korea, a concept of future healthcare facilities originated by CHA Health Systems.

“This collaboration will ultimately benefit patients,” according to Dr. Eric Tomlinson, chief innovation officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the head of Wake Forest Innovations, “providing a mechanism by which promising scientific discoveries can be efficiently translated into innovative therapeutic products.”

“We are also honored to establish this broad based partnership with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center,” says Mr. Won S. Yang, President & CEO of CHA Bio & Diostech and President of CHA Health Systems, U.S. “We believe that Wake Forest researchers are among the best in the United States in developing scientific breakthroughs that can offer significant benefits to patients in areas that are of particular interest to CHA Health Systems, including the work conducted at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Anthony Atala.  CHA Health Systems has numerous clinical trials underway using various stem cell therapies and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Atala and his world class team as well as the other world class researchers at Wake Forest.”

This is the second MOU that Wake Forest Innovations has recently signed. In May, Wake Forest Innovations signed a domestic MOU with New York College of Health Professions to develop and commercialize technologies and products arising from the intellectual properties of both institutions. This non-binding agreement is designed to memorialize the parties’ interest in developing areas of potential collaboration.

Media Relations

Chad Campbell: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587

Mac Ingraham: mingraha@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-3487