Dr. Youzhi Tong
Chairman of Suzhou Kintor Pharmaceuticals,Inc.
Winner of the National “Thousand Talents Program”
Winner of the "Suzhou Leading Talent Program"
Our generation has a special connection with China. Even if I was thousands of miles away,I still wanted to do something for my own country.
This is how Dr. Tong,the chairman of Suzhou Kintor Pharmaceuticals,Inc.,expressed his feelings and how his story started.
Make Novel Drugs Affordable for the Chinese
In 2007,Dr. Tong,the then vice president of a novel drugs enterprise in the United States,suddenly developed an idea of returning to China to start a business. First,it was driven by the "special connection",and second,it was because he found that domestic hardware equipment in the pharmaceutical industry had surpassed the United States,but the concept of novel drugs development was far behind.
At that time,there were relatively few Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises,and most drugs that patients needed basically came from foreign countries. However,the price of "imported goods" has always been beyond reasonable limits,so ordinary families often find it difficult to continue with the treatment. "Developing a local Chinese innovative drug in true sense to reduce medication cost for patients" is the original goal of Dr. Tong. Therefore,after more than a year of preparation,in 2009,Suzhou Kintor Pharmaceuticals,Inc. (referred to as "Kintor Pharmaceuticals") was established under the drive of Dr. Tong.
Focus on Cancer Patients,Devoted to Anticancer Drug Development
With the increasing globalization of drug research and development,to occupy a leading position in the global pharmaceutical market,to be the first in novel drugs research and development is crucial. Dr. Tong focused on anticancer drugs. The first local innovative drug developed by Suzhou Kintor is Proxalutamide. It is mainly used to treat metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. Not long ago,Proxalutamide,a new-generation androgen receptor (AR) antagonist,received initiation funding for major novel drugs development technology in "13th Five-Year Plan". The project's pre-clinical research received special funding for major novel drugs innovation in the national “12th Five-Year Plan” in 2011. Now,its clinical research was further successfully included in the special project of major novel drugs development in“13th Five-Year Plan”,which means that both pre-clinical and clinical stages of Proxalutamide have been recognized at the national level.
In addition to Proxalutamide,Suzhou Kintor also has R&D pipelines for several other products,covering all stages from pre-clinical to phase II clinical trials,involving prostate cancer,breast cancer,liver cancer,brain cancer and lung cancer.
Dr. Tong said that recent years have witnessed active domestic investment in novel drugs research and development,but it is unavoidable that novel drugs research and development is still a highly risky industry. However,Suzhou Kintor will stay true to its mission,insisting on making innovative drugs affordable for the Chinese.
"Variability" Is the Secret of Entrepreneurship
The development of novel drugs is a prolonged process. Many pharmaceutical enterprises often end untimely in the research and development stage before the product is launched. Dr. Tong is very fortunate to learn "variability" early. Entrepreneurship is a process that requires constant thinking about the entrepreneurial environment and active adjustments. "With the idea of being accountable to the enterprise and the team,I am constantly adjusting my views and practices."
In 2009,when Suzhou Kintor was just established,while China has started paying attention to and invested in novel drugs development,the social response (market,capital,etc.) at the time was less enthusiastic than it is now.
How to raise funds in the initial stage is one of the important problems that novel drugs R&D enterprises are facing,and this problem will accompany the entire novel drugs research and development process. Dr. Tong found another way out by seeking "all kinds of support from the Park government" instead of stubbornly insisting on his own ideas about financing channels.
As we all know,the Park always pays attention to the introduction of talents,and governments at all levels attach great importance to novel drugs development. The State,Jiangsu Province,and Suzhou City have all offered special fund investment,and the Park also provides considerable matching funds. This is especially important for science-and-technology enterprises,like us,whodevoted to novel drugs research and development without any profit. The government's capital support has also greatly driven venture capital's attention to early and mid-term novel drugs development projects.
Strive Forward with the Original Mission
At present,Suzhou Kintor is striving to complete human clinical trials at full speed so that approval for marketing is possible as soon as possible to achieve the new goal of becoming an internationally competitive pharmaceutical company. Dr. Tong said that regardless of the future of Kintor Pharmaceuticals,what we need to do now is to actively promote project development,so that we have a clear conscience towards our ‘comrades-in-arms’ fighting with the company as well as our investors,and meet the aspirations of major disease patients for novel drugs. Of course,Kintor Pharmaceuticals will continually stay true to its original mission of ‘making novel drugs affordable for the Chinese'.