SAPA 2021 Career Development Workshop-Master Class: “Elevating Leadership Capabilities”
Over 40 high-quality biotech start-up companies applied for the roadshow. These projects came from different development stages from preclinical to marketed, encompassing the new generation of mass spectrometry technology, botanic medicine for the treatment of liver cancer and other cancers, eye drops for the treatment of macular degeneration, intestinal flora therapy, targeted peptide drugs for the treatment of heart failure, and gene therapy in eye diseases etc., covering multiple aspects in diagnostics, drug development, and medical devices. During two pre-roadshows on June 5th and 12th, 31 companies presented their innovative projects, from which the Judging committee selected 11 companies for the final roadshow on June 25th, among which, the forum nominated top three winners of the 2021 SAPA roadshow, Yiviva, Zylö, and Alephoson Biopharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, the first-place winner Yiviva also won the “Audience’ Favorite Award.”
Yiviva was introduced by CEO Peikun Zheng and another co-founder, tenured professor Yongqi Zheng from Yale University. Yiviva , founded in 2015, originated from Yale University and is currently located in New York, USA. Yiviva launched an integrated system biology platform called Bio Signal Transduction, Mechanism and Response Technology (STAR), for the discovery of innovative first-in-class drugs. They also introduced the company’s representative drug YIV-906, a plant-derived anti-liver cancer drug. YIV-906 has been granted Orphan Drug designations for liver and pancreatic cancers by FDA, and is currently in phase IIb multicenter clinical trial in combination with Sorafenib.
Zylö Therapeutics was presented by the founder and CEO, Scott Pancoast. Zylö was founded in 2017 and is located in Greenville, South Carolina. Zylö develops technologies for innovative drug delivery to enhance bioavailability, thus improving efficiency. Its innovative product is a xerogel-derived silica particle named Z-pods. Zylö has developed patents for the delivery of nitric oxide molecules, which extend the release time of nitric oxide up to 48 hours. Nitric oxide is a common vasodilator and can be used for erectile dysfunction treatment. Other products from Zylö Therapeutics can also be applied in lupus erythematosus and wound repair, etc. Currently, four patents are in the process of application.
Alephoson was lectured by Mark Yong, the company’s co-founder and Vice President of Business Development. Alephoson uses an innovative method called CePPA (Cell Penetration Protein Alternation) to treat eye diseases including macular degeneration and uveitis by using eye drops. This delivery method can greatly improve patient compliance and treatment effects. In contrast, the traditional therapy implements intraocular injections periodically and results in strong side effects as well as low patient compliance. Alephoson’s eye drop therapy is currently at the pre-clinical trial stage and has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of common eye diseases.
Lists of all roadshow projects (Final roadshow projects are marked with blue):
Partial investors and companies BD in the final roadshow
June 26th Investment Forum
The SAPA Investment Forum officially started at 9 AM EST, Jun 26th. Dr. Xiaodong Chen, the Investment Forum Organizing Committee Chair and SAPA President-Elect, gave an opening speech. He reviewed the growth of SAPA Health Industry Investment Forum and Project Roadshow since its establishment 4 years ago and shared his visions to build the SAPA Investment Forum into the “Chinese version” of J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. On behalf of SAPA, Dr. Chen, forum co-Chairs Stephen Xue and Dr. Bob Ai welcomed all participants and wished the Forum success.
Welcome speech by the Forum Chairs
Afterwards, the SAPA president, Dr. John Sun, introduced SAPA’s mission, leadership members, organization structure, sponsors and welcomed all the guests and audience. He wished for an offline reunion in SAPA Annual Conference in the fall.
SAPA President Dr. John Sun introduced SAPA and its mission
The morning session on June 26th: Keynote Speeches and Fireside Chats
The first keynote speaker in the morning session was Umer Raffat, Senior Managing Director of Evercore ISI, who has been rated as the top 1 Wall Street gold analyst in the field of life sciences and pharmaceuticals by institutional investors on twelve occasions.
Umer Raffat analyzes biomedical investment trends
Umer shared insights on recent biomedical investment trends from five perspectives, including key clinical data interpretation, COVID-19 vaccine analysis, changes in the regulatory environment, drug pricing, and capital flows. First of all, he commented on clinical data of several popular drugs, including SAGE-217. He suggested some clinical endpoints were not set reasonably, and some important details were ignored. Regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, he specifically mentioned the gap of vaccine effectiveness between clinical trials and the real world. He also questioned the effectiveness of the vaccine 6 months or more after vaccination. In terms of drug regulation, he mentioned an example of Aducanumab, Biogen’s new drug for Alzheimer’s disease that has recently been marketed. He believes that the FDA’s review may be too loose and too generous to allow Aducanumab targeting general Alzheimer’s disease.
Umer Raffat also believed that drug pricing would bear more pressure in the future, including pressure from insurance parties such as Medicare, and rapid follow-up of me-too drugs from countries such as China. He finally mentioned the recent performance of the biomedical industry in the capital market. The frequency of IPOs and the amount of fund raising are still at a historical high point, but the cases of mergers and acquisitions by large-scale pharmaceutical companies are also gradually keeping up. In the Q&A session, Umer actively interacted with the audience and shared his opinion on some popular questions from the audience, such as the challenges faced by Chinese PD-1 products entering the US market.
The second keynote speaker was Brad Loncar, CEO of Loncar Investment. He is well-known for establishing the Loncar Index, an index that evaluates the stock price performance of Chinese biotech companies.
Brad Loncar analyzed the performance of Chinese Biotech companies
The topic he shared was the current investment landscape of Chinese biotech. In general, he believed that the Chinese biotech industry is in a stage of rapid growth. He compared the biotech listings of NASDAQ and HKEX in the past 3 years. Among them, an increasing number of Chinese companies are listed in the annual top 10 of biotech IPO financing, supporting Loncar’s perspective. Regarding the reasons, he attributed the above-mentioned explosive growth to 3 main supporting factors, namely policy support, reformation of the regulatory system, as well as the insurance system. The policy aspects include the vision of Made in China 2025, the transformation from generic drugs to novel drugs, and the leap brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reformation in the regulatory system mainly included the reformation and innovation in the China SFDA, as well as faster integration with the international standards. Lastly, China reformed the medical insurance system vigorously in recent years, updating the medical insurance catalog regularly to leave more of the market for innovative drugs.
He finally shared other aspects of the rise of Chinese biotech. First he mentioned the possible impact on the US biotech and pharmaceutical industry. He believed PD-1 drugs were just the beginning, while more and more Chinese biotech companies would start to look for overseas market opportunities in the future. At the same time, Chinese pharmaceutical industry is experiencing a transformation from generic drugs to becoming the fast follower, and gradually entering the next first-in-class stage.
The third keynote speaker was Donald Lung, CFO of Antengene Cooperation.
Donald Lung shares the development of Antengene Cooperation
First of all, Mr. Lung narrated the growth of Antengene since its establishment in 2016, the project progress of multiple R&D pipelines, and the financing situation. Antengene currently has over 200 full-time employees, with R&D centers and offices across Mainland China, United States, Australia, and Hong Kong. Antengene employs a ‘combination and complementary’ strategy and holds a highly diversified pipeline of 12 candidates under pre-clinical and clinical investigation. In the meantime, most Antengene products adopt license-in strategy, focusing on new targets and action mechanisms.
Later, he introduced Selinexor, a first-in-class drug of Antengene Cooperation. Selinexor is the first and only selective inhibitor of nuclear export (SINE). It has been approved by FDA for the treatment of second-line multiple myeloma (MM), third-line diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and has been included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) treatment guidelines. At the same time, Selinexor has broad market prospects and forecasts an annual market growth rate of more than 15% in both China and the United States. Its market size in China by 2030 is estimated to be around 10 billion dollars.
Fireside Chat 1: IPO Capital Market Review and Outlook
The first panel in the morning session was led by the Deloitte US International Tax Partner Lili Zheng, together with three other Deloitte guest speakers Danny Wang, Deloitte US Audit Managing Director; David Yu, Deloitte China Audit Partner and Rebecca Chan, Deloitte China Audit Partner, who have extensive knowledge and experience in the life sciences and healthcare (LSHC) industry and IPO markets. This panel revolved around IPO capital markets of the LSHC industry. Lili Zheng kicked off the discussion by giving a brief introduction of Deloitte, including its major business lines and the strong capacity in serving cross-border LSHC clients.
After that, the panelists shared the landscape of the IPO markets in Mainland China, Hong Kong and the US in 1H2021. First of all, David Yu introduced the IPO financing situation in Mainland China, including the listing requirements of the Science and Technology Innovation Board on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE). Then Rebecca Chan shared information about the Hong Kong IPO market. Life science companies are particularly active in listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Hong Kong is already the top 1 in Asia and the top 2 in the world as a life science financing platform. She also introduced the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s requirements for the listing of life science companies. Finally, Danny Wang discussed updates on the US SPAC market, and he also compared the similarities and differences between SPAC and IPO listings.
Fireside Chat 2: Biotech Innovations in China
The second fireside chat was hosted by Bob Ai, Managing Director of Solebury Trout. Other panelists included Lucy Lu, CFO of Pioneer Pharmaceuticals, keynote speaker Brad Loncar, and Weimin Tang, EVP of II-MAB Biopharma. The panelists expressed their views on China’s booming biotechnology industry in recent years, respectively.
Brad Loncar compared the biotech industry in China and the United States. He pointed out that biotech is still new in China. On one hand, the public needs time to understand and accept it; on the other hand, scientific research needs time to mature and grow. In contrast, the United States is the world’s height for biotechnology. There are many factors involved and the government’s investment in fundamental research has played an important role. Additionally, he also mentioned the most cutting-edge innovations in biotech are sometimes in small companies, where Moderna is a great example.
After that, Lucy Lu and Weimin Tang also expressed their opinions on China’s medical innovation. Lucy Lu mentioned that the driving force of Chinese biotech innovation is still in universities and research institutes, but the transition from academic research to industrial applications needs to be strengthened. Weimin Tang shared his insights on returning to China to join biotech start-ups. He said China is a booming place for the development of biotechnology and the COVID-19 pandemic has extensively accelerated this process. He also mentioned that China’s huge market is another driving force of biomedicine development. But at the same time, the huge price pressure brought by medical insurance has pushed Chinese companies to “go overseas” and to join the international market.
Group photo of morning session speakers and SAPA committee members
The afternoon session on June 26th: Entrepreneurship Crash Course and Interactive Social Networking
The afternoon session mainly discussed how to run a startup business in the pharmaceutical industry. Famous investors, tax leaders, and start-up founders from multiple departments analyzed various problems that the audience may encounter and provided a high-quality short course for entrepreneurs. Mr. Stephen Xue, the co-Chair of the Forum, mentioned in his opening speech that the Entrepreneurship Crash Course was first introduced last year and received very positive response in the audience. He hoped this year’s event would tackle critical challenges that entrepreneurs encounter in the start-up process, and help them realize their dreams.
Firstly, Dr. Li Shoufeng, co-Founder and CEO of Shanghai Aucta Pharma, shared his experience in Sino-US entrepreneurship and provided other entrepreneurs with his valuable insights. Dr. Li started with introducing the company’s history from its establishment to the present. He talked about the importance of maintaining a healthy cash flow and innovation in various departments. He shared about how to look forward at the future, to weigh benefits against risks, and to balance work and personal life. After that, Dr. Li talked about how to recruit a team, how build a company structure at the initial stage and during company growth. In the second part, Dr. Li introduced the difference between Chinese and US investment. Finally, he suggested enjoying the fun of entrepreneurship as it is a lifelong learning journey.
Dr. Shoufeng Li shares his entrepreneur journey
Next, Mr. Dennis Ford, the founder and CEO of Life Science Nation, and Ms. Candice He, the director of the Asia-Pacific region, shared the strategies on how to attract initial investments for start-up companies. Life Science Nation was founded 10 years ago and is committed to investment and cooperation in life sciences. Mr. Dennis Ford described the original intention and the history of the company’s establishment. He reminded the start-ups of the precautions when raising funds. As far as the start-up is concerned, Mr. Dennis Ford introduced the seed fund, A round of financing, and B round of financing in detail, including precautions, financing duration, and potential costs, etc. In terms of fund-raising sources, financing is becoming more and more diversified, and is no longer limited to VCs or local investors. Science and technology companies such as Google and Microsoft have also joined in life science investments. Finally, Ms. Candice He gave her valuable suggestions on how to look for suitable investors.
Life Science Nation analyzes how to raise funds for start-ups
Next, Dr. Zheng Lihua, the CCO and co-Founder of AnHeart Therapeutics, analyzed the possible problems that start-ups may encounter in terms of business development and licensing cooperation. For start-ups, it is crucial to understand the purposes and resources of the project, to deploy appropriate strategic plans, and to expand reliable collaborators. He pointed out that in terms of authorized cooperations, a qualified and professional team is necessary to convince the investors. Lastly, Dr. Zheng deconstructed the trade into a few factors.
Afterward, Lillian Li, Deloitte International Tax Managing Director and Lynn Yang, Deloitte Transfer Pricing Managing Director, introduced the basis of entrepreneurial structures and explained how to maximize flexibility in cooperation, M&A, or IPO. Lillian Li and Lynn Yang have many years of experience in taxation, cross-border transaction structuring and transfer pricing issues. Lillian Li first introduced several common corporate structures and compared the pros and cons of various structures. She also talked about the potential structural changes after the company expands. Lynn Yang elaborated on the transfer pricing considerations, including some common issues to note.
Finally, Mr. Michael Weiner, Partner of Fox Rothschild, introduced the merge and acquisition process with key issues to be considered by entrepreneurs. Included are the process of the transaction, the type of acquirer, the core structure of the transaction, the extension of investment, and elements in the final transaction. He also reminded entrepreneurs of the time-consuming nature of this process and the necessity of patience.
The round table Q&A included all the speakers in the afternoon session with the addition of Fox Rothschild partner and Immediate-past SAPA president, Dr. Jerry Liu, and Deloitte Senior Manager Ms. Peimin Liu. They discussed various questions from entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who were interested in investments consulted Dr. Dennis Ford for more information on the fund-raising platform. Afterwards, the speakers expressed their opinions and discussed issues including corporate growth and share dilution, company and capital operations, intellectual property supervision, as well as the impact and prospects of the COVID-19 pandemic on companies.
The Roundtable Clinics successfully concluded the 2021 SAPA Investment Forum and Project Roadshow. In the closing speech by SAPA President John Sun, he thanked all the participants, speakers and organizing committee members. Dr. Sun said that the goal of SAPA is to become a bridge for people in need.
After the meeting, discussion continued in five online conference rooms. The networking themes included cross-border corporate structures, legal issues concerning entrepreneurs, employee benefits solutions, corporate collaboration, and SAPA membership contacts. This event was sponsored by Deloitte, Hangzhou BioVillage, Certified Public Accountants Huang Shiheng, and J.P. Morgan, and received support from strategic partners including BioCentury, Bridge Point Capital, BioNJ, and Life Science Nation.
SAPA will continue to serve pharmaceutical professionals by bridging innovative healthcare projects with smart capitals. The 2022 SAPA Healthcare Investment Forum & Roadshow is scheduled to be back offline at Columbia University, if the conditions permit. We welcome your continued attention.
Afternoon Session speakers and SAPA committee members
Sponsors and strategic collaborators
Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association Introduction
The Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SAPA) was established in the year of 1993 and is headquartered in the United States-New Jersey. SAPA has grown rapidly since its establishment. Currently it has 7 chapters and more than 6,000 members in the United States and China. It is one of the most active Chinese professional associations in the United States. SAPA members mainly come from large and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies in the US. The professional technical field of the members covers all aspects of the research, development, and production of the entire pharmaceutical industry. With such a large number of members and the support of senior scientific and technological talents, SAPA has continuously promoted the industry’s intellectual exchanges in traditional pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and generic drugs for many years. As a non-profit organization registered in the United States, SAPA has been receiving generous sponsorship and support from the United States and multinational companies for a long time. SAPA will continue to provide the pharmaceutical industry with a broad platform for scientific and technological seminars, career development, training, business cooperation and venture capital.