August 29, 2018
“Haichun is the epitome of science and integrity. Her dedication to drug discovery has changed lives of many patients. She set a good example and posed a challenge for all of us at BMS. I miss having a colleague like her as she leaves BMS to start a new chapter in her life,” Nils Lonberg, Senior Vice President, Oncology Discovery Biology at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), commented on Huang Haichun.
Huang was a member of the Advance Immuno-Oncology Research team at BMS and Head of Hybridoma Research at the BMS-Mederax Lab, Redwood City, California.
Opdivo, a human monoclonal antibody, is Huang’s proudest innovation work in her twenty-year career. She also made key contributions to the development of ofatumuab (ARZERRATM)[Haus1] , an anti-CD20 therapeutic antibody for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which was launched in the U.S. in 2009. The team she formed and led pioneered in developing therapeutic antibodies based on the transgenic mouse strains as platforms developed by Mederex and has been involved in the discovery of over 200 target antibodies. Currently, these therapeutic antibodies for tumor immunity, oncology, cardiovascular, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases can be found in the pipelines of major pharmaceutical companies around the world. As a co-inventor of 133 patents in antibody development, Huang is rightfully one of the world’s leading experts in the manufacture and screening of hybridoma antibodies.
In 2018, Huang decided to leave her job which she was then well-versed in. When CSPC offered her a new development opportunity, she was motivated.
The CSPC has established a hybridoma laboratory in the U.S.. With Huang as a leading member, the young, energetic and ambitious team dedicate themselves to the discovery, screening and development of next-gen antibody drugs. The CSPC has opened a “green channel” to support their innovation, enabling a reduction in procedures. Huang not only engages in research herself, but also is willing to assist the research teams in China. She is always available when the CSPC staff encounter problems in work.
“Our R&D has just started. Currently, even famous drugs like Opdivo are only effective in about 20% of cancer patients, so you could say we still have a lot of daunting tasks ahead of us. I hope to help more patients.” Huang’s R&D team is growing. “Over the years, my friends in China kept asking me when the anti-cancer drugs we develop will be available for Chinese patients. I am happy to be involved in developing novel and better drugs for them,” She said. “It’s my mission and ambition as a Chinese-American scientist.”