The Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association (CBA) is one of the largest Chinese American professional associations in the U.S. (www.cba-usa.org). It was founded in 1995 by Guo-Liang Yu, Ph.D., who today is the cofounder, chairman, and CEO of Apollomics, an oncology therapeutic discovery and development company (to be featured in an upcoming issue of Life Science Leader). But back then, he was still at his first job, working as a “gene hunter” at Human Genome Sciences (HGS) in Rockville, MD. “At the time, HGS had a group of Chinese scientists who had come from all over the country. Plus, with AstraZeneca, MedImmune, and the FDA and NIH nearby, it was a very nice biopharmaceutical community.” As such, Yu began discussing with his friends and colleagues the idea of forming some sort of association. “We could help one another as we became entrepreneurs, along with helping to bridge the gap between the U.S. and China, and academia and industry.” Twenty-five years later, CBA remains headquartered in Maryland, but now boasts more than 700 active members, over 8,000 registered individual members, and more than 100 institutional members. While most hail from the nearby geography, the association now has chapters in Canada and China. “When you set up such an organization, it is really important to put some thought around the bylaws.” For example, Yu only stayed one term as president, and insisted that each subsequent president do the same. “A CBA president needs to give to the community and grow themselves as leaders, but by limiting that responsibility to just a year, many more will gain the opportunity to learn, grow and lead,” he contends. “Every single CBA president has become successful, and many have gone on to found companies, with at least three now having gone public,” Yu contends.
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