BAGI whose name is an abbreviation of "BioActivity Guided Identification", was co-founded in 2006 by Abraham Chan, a well-known entrepreneur in Hong Kong and China for his work in the modernisation of Chinese medicine and Professor Allan Lau, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine The University of Hong Kong who founded the Molecular Chinese Medicine Laboratory. BAGI continues to have a close collaboration with The University of Hong Kong.
Leveraging the vast database of medicinal fungi and plants that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a discovery engine, combined with the cutting-edge technology in molecular biology available to BAGI through the collaboration with the University of Hong Kong BAGI has developed a distinctive method to perform rapid screening of bioactive compounds derived from medicinal fungi and plant materials in a cost-effective manner.
This has led to the successful development of a pipeline of pre-clinical drug candidates in several therapeutic areas such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Oncology, Parkinson Disease, and drug resistant Influenza. As a result of its research, the company has an intellectual property portfolio of 45 granted patents.
Between 1980 and 2012 73% of antibiotics, 49% of anticancer compounds, and 32% of all new drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were natural products or derivatives thereof. Fungi are prolific producers of therapeutically relevant natural products, having yielded penicillin, the first widely used antibiotic; cyclosporine, the immunosuppressant that enabled widespread organ transplantation; and lovastatin, the progenitor of the statin class of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
(Science Advances, Vol.4, Issue 4, 2018)