Chinese Biotech Firm Joins Connecticut Network to Bridge East/West Drug Development Gap
Connecticut United for Research Excellence, the state’s main bioscience industry group, has added a Chinese company founded by two people who received their graduate degrees in the U.S. and worked at a major pharmaceutical company in Ridgefield.
The company, HLK Biotechnology Co., is the first Chinese firm to join the network. HLK, based in a high-tech industrial zone of Shenzhen in the Guangdong province, says it hopes to act as a portal between Connecticut and Chinese bioscience companies.
The goal is to bridge the West and the East in order to bring efficacious and safe medicines to patients in both countries,” HLK’s co-founder and president, Jun Xu, said in a statement released by the industry group. “After two years in China, we know how to navigate the hurdles of doing business in that country, with regard to working with government agencies and regulators.”
Western companies who want to develop drugs in China have found it difficult knowing where to start or who to contact, the statement said. The company was founded by Xu and Zeren Wang, managing director, both of whom came to the U.S. in the 1990s. Both are now U.S. citizens.
“Jun and Zeren understand U.S. pharma standards and practices and can work with U.S. firms to develop compounds for the Chinese health care market using state of the art pharmaceutical technology,” Peter Farina, co-chair of the network, said in the statement.
Xu, originally from Hunan Province, earned her master’s degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo and spent 15 years in drug discovery and development at both Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a Swiss-based company with U.S. divisions, and Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company based in Ridgefield.
Wang, originally from Shanghai, earned his Ph.D. in Physical Pharmacy from the University of Utah. He worked with Xu at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals and held positions at Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Eisai Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co.
Xu estimates the two now spend more than 80 percent of their time in China. With the addition of HLK, Connecticut United for Research Excellence now has 92 members, including businesspeople, scientists, educators, investors, and academic researchers, aiming to promote the growth of the bioscience industry in the state.
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