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NHC Key Laboratory of Biotechnology of Antibiotics




Key Laboratory of Biotechnology of Antibiotic of National Health Commission (NHC) of the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1986 (Key Laboratory of Biotechnology of Antibiotics, Ministry of Health). The first director of the key lab is Prof. Huanlou Li, followed by Prof. Yuan Li and Prof. Rongguang Shao. The key lab was ranked as Excellent (8/89) in the evaluation of the 12th Five -Year Plan in 2016.

The key lab has been actively involved in the field of genetic engineering, research and development of antibiotics, and has been keeping the leading position in China. As the development of Pharmaceutical biotechnology R&D, the key lab keeps expanding its research field, including antibiotics bioengineering, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, as well as biotechnologies in the discovery and development of anti-cancer, anti-infection, as well as cardiovascular agents. The key lab applies biotechnology in different stages in the pipeline of novel drug development to further improve the drug innovation in our institution.

The key lab focuses on practical research on the development of novel microbial secondary metabolites with the help of genetic engineering. Carrimycin, an innovative drug which was developed with the support of National Science and Technology Major Project and early risk investment, and gained the State Category Ⅰ New Drug certificate in the year of 2019. Carrimycin is mainly used to treat sensitive microorganism induced upper respiratory tract infections. It has been found to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 during the outbreak of COVID-19, and is now clinically studied in the United States. In basic research, the cloning, sequence analysis and functional analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) of novel microbial agents, some with independent intellectual property rights in China, e.g., Lidamycin, Ebosin, Sansanmycin and Chuangxinmycin. Our goal is to illustrate their biosynthetic and regulatory mechanisms, and then optimize the producing strains of the microbial agents to obtain novel "non-natural" natural products by synthetic biology and metabolic engineering techniques. We are trying our best to maintain the leading position in the research field, to publish results in professional SCI journals, as well as to support and guarantee the R&D of the microbial agents.

On the other hand, the key lab is actively involved in the collaboration with the National New Drug (microbial) Screening Laboratory in our institution to apply biotechnology to the construction of novel anti-infective, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherosclerosis drug screening models and the large-scale screening of potential drugs, in which remarkable progress has been achieved. The new high-throughput drug screening system has reached a leading level in the world, and has led to the discovery of some bioactive agents with novel structures and/or activities, which are further studied on their molecular mechanism of action and drug R&D.

There are 15 professors, 15 associate professors and 23 assistant professors in the key lab. More than 70% of researchers keep a PhD degree. There are 3 holders of special government allowances of the State Council, 2 Chang Jiang scholars, 3 winners for National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, 1 winner for NSFC Excellent Young Scientists Fund, 2 distinguished professors of “Scholar of Peking Union Medical College”, 14 doctoral supervisors, and 13 master's supervisors, constituting a discipline complementary scientific research team with a reasonable age structure.

The Key Laboratory of Biotechnology of Antibiotics is a key component of the key discipline of microbial and biochemical pharmacy (Ministry of Education) of the Institute of Medicinal Biotechnology. The key lab has trained a large number of senior professionals in the field of microbial drug research in China. The key lab is aiming at serving the country's major needs in scientific and technological development, committing to the innovation of microbial drugs, striving for international competitiveness on the basis of the domestic leading position, and making contributions to medical and health services in China.