Guangming Daily reported Lu Xianping: doing a genuine original Chinese medicine

May 24,2015

Source: Guangming Daily

  Lu xianping's recent photos


One night in August 2000, I was sitting in the expert apartment in Tsinghua University as a new returnee. I kept asking myself: was it right to give up the job of the Director of Research at the North American of America Company and to say good-bye to my wife and children in Princeton?


Why did I set up the Chipscreen Biosciences? As a 60’s, our generation has always had a common and simple idea--no matter what my nationality is now, no matter where I am in the world, we always want to repay the motherland and people who helped us to grow with our personal learning. This is not an empty talk.


I remembered the student gathering in the United States in 2000. Many Chinese students like me came together to discuss the development of China enthusiastically, and I was concerned about the development of my own profession-medicine. In the spring of reform and opening-up, China has developed rapidly in many fields but the pharmaceutical sector was stagnated.


15 years ago, China had the largest number of pharmaceutical enterprises in the world, reaching more than 7,000. Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises have the highest production capacity in the world and the second highest formulation production capacity in the world for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), but their profitability stays very low. The reason lies in more imitation and lack of innovation. Many drug companies took the price competition as the means. The competition was brutal, and the profit was very low and unsustainable. Most of the domestic drug research and development institutions, including institutions of higher learning, placed their main energy on generic drugs, and some "new drugs" were only the chemical structure with modification. There was patent protection, but the mechanism of action and molecular structure were similar with the original research drug without innovation in clinical application.


At that time, foreign pharmaceutical companies were entering China in a joint venture, establishing a new model of brand, drug retailing, business and academic popularization, which had a great impact on the development of Chinese pharmaceutical enterprises. And on the other side of the Pacific, especially in the United States, many of the best Chinese medicine scientists had been mature.


I was thinking that there were excellent scientists, a huge market, and a good pharmaceutical infrastructure. Why the pharmaceutical industry is at the lowest end of the ecological chain? What can I do? In this way, with the same faith, Cheng Jing, Ning Zhiqiang, Shi Leming, Hu Weiming and I created Chipscreen Biosciences in March 2001.


The concept of Chipscreen Biosciences is "original, safe, excellent effect, China." What we are going to do is the real original medicine in China. Its molecular structure should be completely different from the listed products, and the mechanism should be novel. The clinical location should be significantly different from the listed drugs. The needs of patients have not been satisfied. However, the development risk of the original drug is the largest and the cycle is the longest.


Startups don’t come easy, just as great waves sweeping away sand. Over the past 15 years, some new drug research and development companies have struggled to the brink of life or death, or sadly exited. In the first few years, the company was totally no profit. We led the research and development team of the enterprise and relied on the core pharmaceutical technology acquired from abroad. On the platform of drug discovery and evaluation in chemical genetics, we kept working hard and obscurely. Finally, Chidamide, the original new anti-tumor drug (Epidaza), the first original new drug Chiglitazar for type II diabetes, and the new three-channel targeted anti-tumor drug chiauranib came into being in our laboratory one after another and would gradually enter the market. These drugs were unique and original in the world. Among them, Chidamide has realized for the first time to license U.S. pharmaceutical enterprises for patent technology use and joint international clinical development. It is the first Chinese original chemical new drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct clinical research in the United States. It has achieved the strategic goal of being discovered in China and developed globally. It has also realized its desire to benefit our patients with the latest global innovations.


As a member of the returnee team, we enjoy the process of using our scientific wisdom to cure diseases, save lives and serve the motherland's society in innovative research and development. Although the gap of pharmaceutical industry between China and developed countries is still huge for the time being, we have continuously developed and achieved from scratch in the internationalization of original new medicines, API drugs and formulations, as well as in the intellectual property rights and financial transactions of biological medicines.


I believe that in the wave of "mass entrepreneurship and innovation", high-tech enterprises will usher in the spring of development and more original enterprises and innovation teams will emerge in China.

More Press Releases