At the beginning of 2010 when Suzhou Kintor Pharmaceuticals,Inc.("Suzhou Kintor") officially started operation,Dr.Tong's entrepreneurship officially started.By then,he was already middle-aged.
In retrospect,20 years ago,after graduating from Department of Chemistry at Peking University with bachelor's and master’s degree and taught for two years,he left China with USD100 in hand and went abroad to study pharmacology,seeking his fortune with the belief of “Math,Physics,Chemistry& Biology are the strongest power to the world”.He was once involved in industry,has worked in academia,and has also participated in the establishment of a novel drugs R&D and innovation company.
For him,returning from the United States to China is equivalent to enter into a completely different life.Everything starts from scratch.From laboratory decoration,team organization to funds preparation,everything has to be done by him alone.
Chinese are smart but lack development concept for advanced drugs
In the mind of Dr.Tong,the idea of entrepreneurship has already begun,which was a matter flowing in his blood.However,the decision to actually return to start a business has a direct relation with his father.In 2007,Dr.Tong's father was ill.He returned for family visit and visited many large pharmaceutical enterprises in China during the period.
To his surprise,the medical environment has changed greatly in recent years.Some large pharmaceutical enterprises are equipped with many imported instruments and are heavily invested in hardware.However,few enterprises really understand how to develop novel drugs,basically engaged in generic drug supply,and no one is devoted to the development of innovative drugs.This undoubtedly means failure to make full use of the imported equipment.Dr.Tong said that the Chinese are undeniably smart,but lack the experience in developing innovative drugs.
Since then,his idea of returning to start a business has become ever more intense.In the following year,he returned to participate in a conference organized by ChinaBio and Suzhou BioBay,and won the Most Valuable Investment Award with his project.In this way,he came back.As a native of Shanghai,he masters relative understanding of Suzhou.After visiting Shanghai,Tianjin,Wuxi,Wuhan and other cities,he finally chose to settle in the park.He said,"The software and hardware environment and services here resemble foreign countries the most.The government,science and technology bureau,biological companies,etc.have created a first-class environment for our entrepreneurship.
Attentive people can easily find that in 2008 when the global financial crisis broke out,to start a business at that time is undoubtedly difficult,especially for a novel drugs project requiring long-term funding support.Dr.Tong spoke candidly that it was very difficult at initial stage of the entrepreneurship.There were no investors,but since the contract has been signed,he must keep his word.
"China actually has no shortage of talents.Some complain that the domestic environment is not as good as abroad.In fact,atmosphere needs to be created.Nowadays many young entrepreneurs are well educated and are doing things with family hope.It is especially important as to how to make talents greater,drive their enthusiasm and impose them with responsibilities,rather than making them a tool of repetitive labor."
The Wonder World in the United States Is Boring,Life Now Is Fulfilling
Dr.Tong jokingly said that he had embarked on a road of no return,but he had no regrets.In the eyes of outsiders,he has so much accumulation in the United States,so it should be rather easy for him to start a business in China.In fact,in retrospect,he also encountered many difficulties,constantly finding problems and solving problems,which are all warm-ups for the corporate development."Founders of biopharmaceutical companies are generally old,because this industry demands accumulation of early results.If you are not ready,entrepreneurship is impossible,and no one will believe you can do it well." He said candidly that he had never thought it would be so difficult before,as he had input almost all the time and energy.
Dr.Tong has always said that after returning to China,he has entered a different life."In the United States,no one will disturb you outside the 8 hours’ working time.The lifestyle is very fixed,but there is a saying ‘wonder world is boring'.In China,I feel fulfilling with full strength every day.Since the previous intellectual property rights cannot be used,everything starts from scratch,which is very challenging."
Now he doesn't have the concept of 24 hours.He has been in startups business for many years without knowing it.He speaks bluntly that there is no time to look back and his work takes up a lot of time.He hopes to do all his best to launch novel drugs helpful to human health.This will be a long process demanding race against time,in which,pressure and opportunity coexist.
After six years,one of their novel drugs has now entered phase II clinical trials,which would be available for clinical use in two to three years according to him.
Talent is Not a Tool for Repetitive Labor,But Requires Innovation
Seen from the average age of first-time entrepreneurship,Dr.Tong is considered to be old.In an era with large numbers of young entrepreneurs,he also has his own views towards entrepreneurship."In fact,age is not a matter in entrepreneurship,and the greatest difficulty does not come from the first step.If you have a strong will and the time has come,then do it." As said at the beginning,innovation is a word with driving force in the eyes of Dr.Tong.He believes that "innovation first,entrepreneurship second" will make entrepreneurship easier.
In the face of the current relatively impetuous entrepreneurial environment,he says candidly that impetuosity is not necessarily a derogatory term.After clarifying "what can I do","what can I return to investors" and "what can I do for the society",with the government’s helping hand at the starting point to introduce them into the platform,under healthy guidance,those capable cockbrain will move forward under the drive,and there may be some unexpected results.
"China actually has no shortage of talents.Some complain that the domestic environment is not as good as abroad.In fact,atmosphere needs to be created.Now many young entrepreneurs are well educated and are doing things with family hope.It is especially important as to how to make talents greater,drive their enthusiasm and give play to their responsibilities,rather than making them a tool of repetitive labor." Dr.Tong hopes that China can cultivate more sustainable talents.
Some people desperately want to go abroad,while others choose to return.As far as Dr.Tong is concerned,even if he has taken up U.S.citizenship,China will always be his hometown.After experiencing the backwardness of China,he is quite satisfied with the current environment.He said,"I return to the United States two or three times a year,feeling no change there.Nevertheless,China is different,where development is changing with each passing day and the government's urban planning speed is far beyond my expectations.For example,there was no traffic jam in Xinghu Street in 2009.Now,the city is booming,supporting facilities are improving,and industries are concentrating."
At the end of the interview,the reporter asked him to recommend a favorite place in the Park.He said it was Yangcheng Lake.Contemporary places are similar,so he likes the naturalness of Yangcheng Lake where he can stroll along the boardwalk by the lake,the best way to relax in his busy schedule.
——"Modern Suzhou" Issue.36,2016