As a young vice president of Laekna Therapeutics overseeing clinical development in China, Gary Wang has one more unique marker: baseball. During his years at Shanghai Medical College Fudan University, Gary played for the college baseball team for 7 years, and has continued playing since graduation.
“Baseball has had a profound impact on my career, as the strategy out on the field and sportsmanship are both aspects of the sport that translate over to my job,” Gary said.
Gary has rich experience in clinical development. He participated in more than 30 global clinical studies in pharma companies such as AstraZeneca and Novartis, covering multiple therapeutic fields including oncology, immunology, skin and infectious diseases. He has also led product launches in several Asian countries and regions.
It has always been Gary’s ambition to develop a new drug globally, and that’s why he decided to join Laekna. “I hope to hit that home run at Laekna,” he said.
Laekna’s vision and platform are a good fit for me. The company has solid capabilities for POC research and project transformation, and its pipeline is designed to address huge unmet medical needs. It also has the resources and abilities needed to conduct clinical research in China and the United States simultaneously, and has a highly competent team. All this helps lay a foundation for the development of an innovative global new drug.
Anyone who plays baseball knows that teamwork matters in games and alignment is needed between the offense and defense. When I joined the Laekna team, I felt there is a culture of collaborative decision-making and equality for everyone. All of us can express our opinions, and everyone is fully empowered and supported. Our CEO, Chris, is often seen looking for empty meeting rooms with his computer, just like everyone else. This equal and friendly working environment plays a significant part in attracting talents. My colleagues are always ready to support each other. Sometimes when I face challenges, I communicate with them, and quickly get feedback and suggestions from colleagues in medical, data and legal departments.
Day-to-day baseball training seems boring. If you don’t have a passion for it, you can’t keep it up. It is owing to hard and routine training that you manage to catch the ball at the critical moment when it comes to you.
Likewise, the research and development of a new drug could take around 10 years. The fulfillment of such a task is supported by firm goals, ideals, as well as hard work and perseverance every step of the way. Meanwhile, it is essential to persist and hone your skills. For instance, you may run into a lot of interference in clinical trials. Are you able to see through all the disruptions and identify the core issue?
Biopharmaceuticals is a booming industry with long cycles. I believe the current national and global policies, including regulatory changes, are all centered on the long-term, healthy and sustainable development of the industry. We need to focus on indigenous innovation, by making real breakthroughs, and establishing supportive mechanisms. Only by taking things into the long-term perspective can we refrain from being distracted by short-term trends.
Hitting a ball and scoring in baseball games is very challenging...Under immense pressure, the player still needs to stay patient and courageous enough to wait for a good shot, and mobilize all strength and wisdom to win with this hit. The joy of such success is beyond words.
It has always been my aspiration to make an innovative drug that originates from China and is developed and launched globally. More than 10 years ago, I participated for the first time in a program involving global clinical research and drug development in the United States. I have since come to the belief that Chinese pharma companies will eventually develop new drugs to be launched in the United States, Europe and Japan. And this experience further reinforces my determination to develop a drug that is “in China, for Global.”
Currently, Laekna has a number of highly promising clinical projects. I hope to hit that home run at Laekna and benefit patients around the world.
A typical day of Gary
Email replies, report reviews and approvals, etc.
One-on-one communication with project leaders
Project meetings/project review with CRO
One-on-one discussions with team members
Document reviews, email replies
Project meetings, etc.
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