Institute of Materia Medica

The Institute of Materia Medica (IMM) at CAMS and PUMC was founded in 1958. Its mandate is to discover and research innovative drugs for treating or preventing human diseases. IMM’s scientists use the latest biomedical theories, cutting-edge technologies, and state-of-the-art clinical resources to develop drugs from botanic compounds, synthetic chemicals, and bioproducts. IMM has established extensive partnerships and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes worldwide, including in the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Canada.


Principle drug research efforts at IMM focus on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, and inflammation.

IMM researchers have made significant contributions in phytochemistry, analytic chemistry, computer-aided drug design, molecular pharmacology, high-throughput screening, synthetic biology, and drug-delivery systems, and have had notable successes developing new drugs that serve patients in China and abroad.

The institute hosts a State Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Functions of Natural Medicines and seven Ministry-level Key Laboratories. The departments in IMM include: Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry, Natural Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Analysis, Biosynthesis, Drug Screening, Polymorphic Drugs, Drug Delivery Systems, Drug Metabolism, and New Drug Research and Development. The Comprehensive Drug Platform funded by the National Science and Technology Project for Major New Drug Innovation and Development is one of the very few state drug programs established by the central government in China. Establishment of such programs has significantly enhanced IMM’s research capabilities.
The institute has 495 staff and faculty members, of whom 123 are full or associate professors and 62 are principle investigators. Five scientists are academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering. IMM is housed on the main campus of the PUMC School of Pharmacy and provides training for senior pharmaceutical professionals and postdoctoral scientists. The Ministry of Education has classified Pharmaceutical Sciences at IMM as a National Key Discipline in Medicine. IMM currently has more than 380 graduate students and has graduated 1,488 students to date, granting 782 doctoral and 706 Master’s degrees.
Since the institute’s establishment, its scientists have discovered or developed hundreds of new drugs and acquired 130 new drug certificates from the China FDA, including numerous innovative drugs such as butylphthalide, bicyclol and imrecoxib. IMM's contributors have won 286 awards from the government and professional societies for drug research and development, including 13 at the national level. Notably, IMM won the first prize in the 2015 National Scientific and Technological Progress Awards for its research on creating an artificial musk. IMM has published 7,777 academic papers and 349 monographs, and holds 277 approved patents.
IMM stresses translational research and development, and has two wholly owned enterprises: Beijing Union Pharmaceutical Factory and Beijing Union Second Pharmaceutical Factory. It is also the major shareholder of Beijing LianXin Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.; Beijing Union-Genius Pharmaceutical Technology Co., Ltd.; and Beijing Collab Pharma Co., Ltd.
IMM has established extensive partnerships and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes worldwide, including in the United States, France, Japan, Germany, Spain, and Canada.

IMM hosts the editorial offices of four scientific journals: Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica, Chinese Chemical Letters, the Journal of Asian Natural Products Research, and Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. In the spirit of its motto, “Devotion, Innovation, truth-seeking, and Cooperation,” staff and faculty at IMM look forward to continuing their tradition of excellence in research, creating a sustainable future for Chinese medicine and the Chinese health care industry.