Tuesday, February 9, 2010

HUYA Bioscience International

CHI Blog interviews Mireille Gingras, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of HUYA Bioscience International, about the explosive growth of China’s biopharmaceutical industry and opportunities for Western pharmaceutical companies.

HUYA Bioscience International is the leader in accelerating the global co-development of novel biopharmaceutical product opportunities originating in China. Jointly headquartered in San Diego and Shanghai, the company has established extensive collaborations with Chinese universities, institutes, and bioparks to speed the development and value creation in worldwide markets for China-sourced product candidates. HUYA is the first U.S. biotechnology company to license clinical-stage compounds from China for worldwide commercialization, and among the first to predict the explosive growth of its biopharmaceutical industry. With the largest compound portfolio covering a wide range of therapeutic areas, HUYA has emerged as the partner-of-choice for maximizing the worldwide value of biopharmaceutical innovation in China.

Gingras founded the privately held company in 2005. She has 18 years of experience in the biotechnology industry that includes drug development, pre-clinical research design, and experience in establishing academic partnering programs. She has made significant contributions to the study of complex addictive diseases as well as in the research and development of neuroactive steroids and neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Gingras was the first to establish extensive collaborations with Chinese academic and commercial biopharmaceutical organizations to speed the development and value creation in worldwide markets for China-sourced novel biopharmaceutical compounds. The company’s co-development model allows HUYA to reduce the risk, time, and cost of drug development by identifying novel compounds in clinical, pre-clinical, and discovery stages that have worldwide marketing potential. HUYA is able to accomplish this through partnerships it establishes with Chinese researchers to co-develop drug candidates to Western standards, and by accelerating global development of novel, validated product opportunities sourced from China. Gingras completed post-doctoral fellowships at Bordeaux University in France and The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and holds a Ph.D. from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

Q: What makes HUYA’s business model unique?
A: We have a real first-mover advantage. I founded HUYA five years ago, and since then we have opened six offices in Hangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. We are the first U.S. company to in-license pre-clinical and clinical compounds from China, and we have the largest portfolio of product opportunities sourced from Chinese researchers. With our unique business model, we work with the Chinese institutes, universities and biotech parks, including collaborations with “sea turtles.” These are Chinese nationals who got their degrees at leading Western universities, then worked at global pharmaceutical companies doing research and development, and now have returned to China to do their own research and development.

Q: How do you help advance novel Chinese compounds to the clinic?
A: We work with Chinese scientists, and once we have identified a good opportunity, we in-license the compound for the rest of the world (ex-China). In the United States, we replicate the data generated in China, expand the studies, and invest in development through to Phase I clinical trials. We then partner with global pharma to take the development programs further through Phase II. Along the way, we work closely with our Chinese partners, using their data as our roadmap, to reduce the cost, risk and time associated with drug development.

Q: What are your most advanced candidates at this point?
A: We have an oncology candidate in Phase II development in China, and we are going to start Phase I studies in the United States at the beginning of this year. We also have a cardiovascular compound about to start Phase II in China.

Q: What value do you offer to your U.S. partners?
A: We work with several global pharma companies, including Abbott and Schering-Plough. When these companies partner with us, they get access to the network that we have developed over the past five years. We have established ourselves as the go-to company for understanding the landscape of biotech and pharma in China.

Q: How does being a woman in science play in China?
A: It is very well received. There are a lot of biotech CEOs who are women in China. If you have substance and you know your science, it doesn’t matter whether you are a man or a woman.

Q: Do you speak Chinese? And how often do you go to China?
A: I am learning, and I go to China every four to six weeks. We have an exceptional team in China, and we are continually expanding. Our scouts in China have established great relationships with PIs [principal investigators]; the international language is science.

CHI-Advancing California biomedical research and innovation

1 comment:

Jeff Newman said...

Your approach is both timely and focused. I am preparing a lengthy article on the newer methods of drug development worldwide and wanted to know if you have written anything on this topic. Jeffrey Newman