After a short hiatus from traveling during the end of 2011, I got “back in the saddle” in January, attending two different conferences. The theme of both events revolved around getting drugs to market quicker — a consistent theme this past year and one that is sure to continue through 2012. The first conference focused on finding the fastest path to funding and regulatory approval, while the second elaborated on new drug delivery technologies, formulation strategies, and partnerships. One of the nice things about attending these shows is hearing a variety of perspectives on how to solve this longstanding problem.
Another thing I enjoy about attending these shows is the networking opportunities they provide for both new and old acquaintances. Speaking of old acquaintances, two of the folks featured in this month’s issue I had met at past shows. When I first met Coreen Oei, Ph.D, she was working for GSK. Now she is serving as the SVP of clinical operation and project management with BeiGene, a China-based biotech start-up. I had the chance to sit down with her and Peter Ho, M.D., Ph.D, BeiGene’s founder and president. I was curious to find out why Ho and Oei, both U.S. citizens and former Big Pharma execs, decided to step outside of their comfort zone to start a new company located halfway around the world in Beijing. Starting a new company is tough enough, but add to that the prospect of moving to a new country, where you aren’t fluent in the language, and it makes for a very interesting and inspiring story (p. 24).