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.
Dr. Hongbo Lu is a partner at Lilly Asia Ventures, a healthcare-focused global investment firm with over USD$1.2 billion estimated AUM. Previously, Dr. Lu was with OrbiMed Advisors, serving as its Managing Director in Asia. She has over 15 years of investment and operational experience in healthcare industry, including her tenures at OrbiMed, Piper Jaffray & Co. and life science start-up Zyomyx.
Dr. Lu received a Ph.D. in BioEngineering from the University of Washington, an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with honor from Tsinghua University in China.
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.
Dr. Wenyan (David) Shen is a well-recognized expert in the antibody, therapeutic protein, and biosimilar field with a proven record of advancing pipelines from discovery to clinical and regulatory approval in both US FDA and EU EMA. As an executive leading research and process development teams in top biotech and big pharma companies, he brings strong interpersonal skills, extensive experience in building collaborative relationships both inside and outside the organization, and success in working in a matrix environment. Innovatively blending the scientific and industrial vision, he brings a proven history of discovering new technologies (more 20 patents or applications and more than 30 peer reviewed papers) with strong industrial application potential.
David serves as Board member and Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for Elpiscience Biopharmaceuticals, a startup company in Shanghai focused on Immuno-Oncology. He is also Senior Vice President, Head of Biologics Research and CMC at NGM Biopharmaceuticals, where David leads Discovery Biologics, Bioanalytical, Process Development and CMC to advance six biologics into clinical stage, including one in phase II clinical trial for liver disease, NASH.
Prior to NGMBio, David was VP, Global Head of Biologics at TEVA Pharmaceuticals, where he set the strategy for Biosimilars, Biobetters and innovative biologics including their pipeline portfolio. In this capacity, he oversaw research, process development, bioassay Center of Excellence (including but not limited to functional assays, immunoassays, potency assays, antibody neutralization assays), and CMC up to phase II clinical materials. The overall staff in his organization was more than 180 and were located in US, Israel, Germany, and Lithuania. In addition, he was Managing Director of Teva-Lonza Joint Venture (TL Biopharmaceuticals) that focused on biosimilar monoclonal antibodies. In his capacity, David’s team successfully advanced many biologics into late stage clinical trials including tbo-filgrastim approval by FDA as well as lipegfilgrastim and biosimilar follitropin alfa pproved by EMA.
David also worked with Merck serving as Executive Director of Biologics Research and GlycoFi overseeing two research sites with more than 100 staff supporting all 7 therapeutic areas across all research labs. His department worked on innovative therapeutic antibody, protein based drug and follow-on biologics (biosimilars and biobetters). David led his leadership team to develop a clear strategy to position Merck Biologics in the right direction for growth through balancing their portfolio with both innovative and follow-on biologics and championing for corporate partnerships to further balance the Biologics Portfolio.
His professional career started at Amgen where David eventually became Director and Head of Protein Science Department at the San Francisco research facility and led a group working on therapeutic antibody, protein based drug discovery for oncology, inflammation, metabolic disorders, and neurosciences. Before moving to San Francisco, he was a group leader for antibody engineering, where they played key roles for more than 8 antibodies currently in early and late stage clinical trials, including denosumab and evolocumab. His group developed a novel Mammalian Antibody Display technology for antibody discovery/selection, which for the first time allows functional display of full length IgG on mammalian cell surface. While working in Amgen David initiated a process for a set of selection criteria for antibody Manufacturability Assessment, which was later implemented and now became a critical document for lead antibody selection.
David graduated from East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai, China. He then moved to Toronto, Canada on a prestigious government scholarship to pursue his graduate studies. David received his PhD from University of Toronto and went on to finish his Post-doctoral training in the Whitehead Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts before joining Amgen.
Yi Shi is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lilly Asia Ventures, a biomedical venture capital firm with focus on China and cross-border opportunities. Prior to his current role, Yi worked at Eli Lilly and Company in business development licensing and corporate ventures. His education includes a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and a Master of Business Administration, both from Duke University. He also has a Bachelor of Sciences in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China.