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Management Team

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  • Darren Ji, MD, PhD, MBA

    CEO, Co-founder, Board Director

    Darren Ji, MD, PhD, MBA
    CEO, Co-founder, Board Director

    Darren is co-founder and CEO of Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. He also serves as Venture Partner of Lilly Asia Ventures (LAV). Prior to that Darren was Global Vice President of Roche Partnering for Asia and Emerging Markets, as well as a leadership team member of Roche Partnering, Roche’s deal-making body that manages the company’s business development across the board including licensing and M&A. In this role Darren was responsible for driving the strategy and execution of partnering activities in the territory of Asia and Emerging Markets encompassing over 100 countries. During his tenure Darren championed and oversaw the closing of many key transactions between Roche and partners worldwide. He managed a global team and established a strong business network in key countries like China, Japan, Korea, Australia/New Zealand, Russia and Brazil.


    A repeat entrepreneur himself, Darren spent a long career at the Procter & Gamble Company with increasing responsibilities in drug R&D and business development. He co-founded and managed as CEO of PharmaLegacy Laboratories in Shanghai in 2008, which became a premium CRO providing high-quality drug discovery services to a global clientele until today. Darren has been a highly respected leader in global life sciences and a sought-after speaker in various business forums. He was also an avid community builder exemplified by completing one of the longest services as a board member of the BayHelix Group.


    Darren got his medical training at China Medical University, a PhD from University of Sheffield at UK, and a MBA from University of Chicago.

  • Hongtao Lu, PhD

    CSO, Co-founder, Board Director

    Hongtao Lu, PhD
    CSO, Co-founder, Board Director

    Dr. Hongtao Lu is currently co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Trained as an immunologist and a 20-year industry veteran, he has worked on several therapeutic areas (autoimmune diseases, oncology and neuroscience) using both small-molecule and biological approaches. Before Elpiscience, he had spent four years with Zai Lab, a NASDAQ-listed company, as co-founder and CSO and helped to build a robust pipeline focusing on oncology and autoimmune diseases. Prior to Zai Lab, he was with GlaxoSmithKline as the founding head and senior director of Neuroimmunology Discovery Performance Unit (NI-DPU), where he led about 70 biologists and chemists focusing on drug discovery in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease and had successfully built the team and the pipeline from scratch in 5 years with three clinical assets and four pre-clinical programs.


    Dr. Lu spent his early career with Berlex Biosciences and Bayer Schering Pharma, where he conducted target identification and validation in autoimmune inflammatory diseases and oncology. Dr. Lu holds a Ph.D. in Regulatory Biology and conducted his graduate research at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, focusing on MHC class II gene regulation followed by post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine under the guidance of Dr. Richard Flavell, working on T cell differentiation and signal transduction pathway.

  • Wayne Li, PhD

    VP of Corporate Development

    Wayne Li, PhD
    VP of Corporate Development

    Wayne is currently served as the Vice President of Corporate Development of Elpiscience (Suzhou) Biopharma, Limited. Prior to this Wayne was Vice General Manager of Xinjiang BaiHuaCun Co. Limited, a Shanghai Stock Exchange listed public company focused on pharmaceutical contract research and  development. Prior to that Wayne served as an  Investment Director at Morningside Technologies, a private Venture Capital firm focused on early-stage healthcare investment; meanwhile he was also acting as General Manager for Kunming Biomed International (KBI) and Harmonia (Tianjin) Biotechnology Company, jointly. Both KBI and Harmonia were invested by Morningside Technologies to provide CMC and preclinical services for healthcare industry, biopharmaceutical industry and research academies. Beyond those Wayne was also held director and manager level positions at Genelabs, Rigel and Covance Laboratories in US. He had more than 25 years of experience in biological and chemical pharmaceuticals, of which over 15 years were dedicated to drug discovery and development. His expertise was in novel drug preclinical development and healthcare investment. He had directly participated and supported drug discovery and development projects for licensing in and out; had successfully negotiated and executed R&D deals with multinational pharmaceutical companies. Wayne had more than 30 papers published in leading scientific journals and more than 50 presentations on national and international conferences and symposiums.


    Wayne obtained his Master of Science Degree from the Research Center of Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and a PhD from Brigham Young University in USA. He did his post-doctoral research training at the Haskell Laboratory for Toxicology and Industrial Medicine at DuPont Company in US.

  • Bo Zheng, MD

    Head of Clinical Operation

    Bo Zheng, MD
    Head of Clinical Operation

    Before joining Elpiscience as the Head of Clinical Operation, Bo had been working at GSK R&D in US and China, supporting Pharmaco-genetics (PGx) in the early years and moving onto late phase clinical development programs. His expertise in clinical development space includes study management and data management.  While most of his industry career was in the US, he also had an opportunity to work for GSK China R&D from 2011-2015, building the operation model of the study teams and data management team to lead global studies from China.  He is familiar with clinical development both in the US and China.  


    Bo finished his medical training from Medical school of Beijing University, Master of Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Bella Zhang, MD, PhD

    Head of Medical Sciences

    Bella Zhang, MD, PhD
    Head of Medical Sciences

    Bella is currently Medical and Science Leader of Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. Bella has around 8 years of experience on oncology medical affairs and drug development in pharmaceutical company and has more than 9 years of working experience as a clinical oncologist in China top hospitals. In her former role of Medical Advisor in Eli Lilly, Bella led or joined multiple China and emerging market oncology drug development projects throughout phase I-III, played a critical role as medical strategic consultant to support pre- and post-launch products marketing strategy planning and implementation.


    Prior to joining Elpiscience Bella was Medical Science Vice President of Shanghai HaiHe Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and was in charge of medical science, biostatistics/data management and pharmacovigiliance departments.

  • Shirley Tu, MS, AICPA

    Head of Operation

    Shirley Tu, MS, AICPA
    Head of Operation

    Shirley Tu is currently head of operation. Prior to joining Elpiscience, Shirley was the financial manager of Precast Software Engineering Co., Ltd, where she was responsible for financial reporting and management. From 2014 to 2015, Shirley served as a consultant of PricewaterhouseCoopers Business Consulting Co., Ltd. Before returning to China, Shirley worked as a CPA in a private consulting firm in the United States.


    Shirley received her master’s degree and graduated with high honors from Golden Gate University and received her B.S. in Accounting from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Shirley is a member of AICPA.