SAPA Gains Global Influence in Pharmaceutical R&D

By Xinming Li,

Boston, Nov. 28, 2015, — Founded in 1993, the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SAPA) grew rapidly and has become one of the most active and well-recognized Chinese-heritage enduring professional organizations in the United States. Over the past 22 years, SAPA has made significant impact in the field of pharmaceutical R&D, from the East Coast of the US to the other shore of the Pacific.
Picture of SAPA-NE science symposium at MIT( file photo).

SAPA is an independent, nonprofit and professional organization with over 4,000 members in USA, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Its headquarters is based in the tri-state area (NY-NJ-CT) with three regional chapters in New England, Greater Philadelphia and California bay area, and one chapter in Shanghai.

This year’s SAPA Annual Conference was successfully held in September in Princeton, NJ with a theme of “Advancing Breakthrough Medicines Through Global Innovation and Partnership”. It highlights the importance of cooperation between US and China in pharmaceutical research and development. Professional associations like SAPA play an important role in bridging together resources to meet the challenges of discovering groundbreaking new drugs.

The following is part of an interview of Daniel Chan by Daniel Chan is the Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Proteomics and an international expert in cancer biomarker research provides a global perspective on cancer by providing some insights on cancer research in China and the United States. The title of the interview is Cancer research in the East and West: an Editor Q+A.

Q: While in China you attended SAPA-SDDA-SIMM Conference (Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Associations, Sino Drug Discovery Association, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica). Are there differences in the focus of cancer research between the US and China?

A: I was the keynote speaker at the SAPA-SDDA-SIMM symposium in Shanghai and Beijing. The focus was on pharmaceutical research and development. There was a strong interest in biomarker discovery, validation and translation.

Most major pharmaceutical companies have established research and development centers in China, especially, the Shanghai area. I believe the future of drug development will come from China.

23rd SAPA Annual Conference “Advancing Breakthrough Medicines Through Global Innovation and Partnership”

Princeton, NJ, Oct. 1, 2015 –(– On September 12th, 2015, SAPA (Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association) hosted its 23rd Annual Conference at Princeton University, McDonnell Hall. The conference was a huge success and attracted around 500 experts and professionals from both Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry and academia. Dr. Weiguo Dai, SAPA president gave open remarks and welcomed all attendees to the 23rd SAPA Annual Conference. He also highlighted the SAPA major accomplishment in the last year.

The morning plenary session was well presented by a number of top thinkers in the industry. Dr. Jerome B. Zeldis, CEO of Celgene Global Health, gave a brief overview of Celgene’s discovery and development platform, focusing on Celgene’s competitive strengths and challenges in the China market. Dr. Patrice Matchaba, Executive VP and Global Head of Novartis Cardio-Metabolic Development Franchise, took the audience through the exemplary journey of ENTRESTO and presented Novartis’ continuing and amazing innovative achievements. Thad Huston, Group CFO of Johnson & Jonson Medical Devices and Former President of Xian Janssen Pharmaceuticals shared his experience on how to lead innovation and collaboration in the dynamic pharmaceutical industry in China and his insights on the critical leadership attributes required for emerging industry leaders in China. Dr. Wei (William) Cao, CEO of Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc. introduced the forward-looking of the pharmaceutical industry in the China market and shared his experience and perspectives on the opportunities and challenges for the Western-educated “sea turtles” (returnees) to exercise their entrepreneurship desire. Dr. Rachel W. Humphrey, Chief Medical Officer of CytomX Therapeutics and Former VP of Immono-Oncology of Eli Lilly and Company, exhibited the extraordinary benefits as well as safety concerns of the PD(L)-1 inhibitors in cancer therapy and anticipated the great future of using this innovative medicine in combinatory immunotherapy.

Before the break, Dr. Weiguo Dai announced the SAPA Annual Election results. Dr. Lei Tang from Sanofi was elected as the SAPA President-Elect and 25 SAPA leaders were elected as new Executive Council members. In addition, Dr. Jerry Liu announced SAPA Scholarship Awards. Kara Coldiron from Kentucky and Kyung Park from Texas are the SAPA Scholarship Award Receipts due to their academic excellence.

The afternoon symposium included two parallel sessions. The CEO forum started with Dr. Yusheng Wu, CEO of Tetranov Biopharm, discussing the current drug discovery environment, strategies, and examples in China. Dizheng Du, CEO of Shanghai Chenpon Pharmaceutical introduced Chenpon’s innovation capability and new global strategy. Eric Rong, President of Klus Pharma Inc. gave an overview of its strong R&D team and pipeline, which is preparing the company very well for future opportunities and challenges. Dr. Bin Zhang, Chief Medical Officer of KBP Biosciences elaborated on the company’s “Back-to-Basics (B2B)” business model which has guided its strategic focus on developing best-in-class and first-in-class products. Terry Adams, Shimadzu VP of Marketing, focused his presentation on Shimadzu’s evolving globalization strategies from the past to the future. Ying Shao, VP of Fosun Pharmaceuticals, reviewed the company’s history from PCR molecular diagnostics to pharmaceutical to a comprehensive and innovative investment platform today. Dr. Ji Li, VP of Business Development and Licensing of Merck, used Merck as an example to illustrate the importance of partnership and how to build the right kind of partnership in order to accelerate external innovations and maximize the collaboration values.

Symposium B started with Dr. Hui Cai, VP of WuXi AppTec, who provided WuXi’s insights from experience of working with over 2,000 collaborators and partners worldwide through its open-access enabling R&D platform. Dr. Milind Javle, Professor of GI Medical Oncology of MD Anderson Cancer Center introduced the role of molecular characterization and immune therapy in Cholangiocarcinoma. Dr. John Hu, Sr. Vice President of Huahai Pharmaceutical US Inc. presented the challenges and opportunities facing the Chinese pharmaceutical companies in the US, and Huahai’s strategy to grow business in the competitive US generic drug market place. Dr. Jeffrey Hung, Vice President of GenScript introduced the concept and applications of synthetic biology and focused on the recently developed technologies that empower the efficient assembly of genes in vitro and in vivo for bio-molecule expression and production. Dr. Xin Jiang, Head of Global Business Development of CoSci Med-Tech Co., Ltd. explained in details on the current changes, opportunities, and challenges in the China market. Dr. Weimin Tang, Executive Director of HengRui Medicine introduced HengRui’s current innovation capability and capacity although being well known as a strong generic drug company.

The conference ended with a relaxing annual dinner reception. Dr. Lequn Lee Huang, Chairman, Shanghai Pharma Sinobiopharma Co. gave a short welcoming speech. Several awards, including SAPA Corporate Excellence Award, SAPA Service Award, 2015 SAPA-Biopeptek Graduate Travel Grant Award were also announced.