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HCmed keeps you up-to-date with the most recent events and publications about the company and inhalation therapy




Interview with HCmed's BD Director, Connie Chen

Director of Business Department at HCmed Innovations, Connie Chen this month shares her experience and thoughts working in the biomedical industry.

1. Please share your working experience.

As I have always been deeply interested in the study of biology and medicine, after completing my bachelor’s degree I immersed myself in the field of laboratory research, gaining both my master’s and Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering. After obtaining my Ph.D. degree, I became a project manager at the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), managing university projects that were looking for fundings. This job position gave me a great opportunity to know more about the many innovative projects and great ambitions of the people working in the biomedical field. I was responsible for leading projects aiming at curing brain tumor, facilitating the placement of dental crowns and other projects that further encouraged a thought that I had – If these projects could be continuously funded and have enough resources to develop their potentially life-changing medicine or technology, then more people would probably be able to benefit from the achievements of the projects. With this thought in mind, I started a business after leaving MOST, co-founding a company that focused on developing a technology that assists with the treatments of brain diseases. I was entailed with responsibilities that included fund-raising, business development and FDA-related regulatory affairs. Before joining HCmed, I had also become the Vice President of the Business Development Department at a nano-medicine company. Like my previous jobs, the responsibilities of this position also included looking for potential clients and creating a business model to expand the company’s business, which had all become great experiences that helped me to better make decisions and execute plans at HCmed. Even though every company that I have worked in specialized in different technical skills and capabilities, they are all focused on one goal – to improve patients’ quality of life. After getting familiar with the technical side and the working principle of products, I strive to expand the company’s business and collaborate with pharmaceutical companies that have synergy with us to achieve the one goal we are all aiming for.

2. How could a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) that focuses on the development of combination products for inhalation therapy support pharmaceutical partners?

The process of developing a new drug is costly and lengthy. When partnered with a CDMO, a pharmaceutical company can be guided throughout the whole process, all the way from formulation development to clinical trials and mass production. If pharmaceutical companies are looking to develop a new drug or to scale up in manufacturing capabilities, they often find themselves facing high costs of equipment and facilities. In this scenario, it is more cost effective for them to outsource than to take on the expenses of these costly investments. Other than facilities, we also dedicate our expertise to support the process of drug development, assessing the formulation’s physicochemical properties and finding the right device with the right specifications to achieve an optimized performance of the combination product. New drug development is a long and complex process, but as pharmaceutical companies find the right CDMO, the need to invest in additional equipment could be resolved and the time spent on additional research could be shortened.

3. What makes a CDMO attractive to pharmaceutical partners to develop an inhaled product? On the other hand, what makes a pharmaceutical partner attractive to a CDMO?

In the process of bringing a new drug to the market, any time delay in the formulation research, clinical trial, or mass production would signify higher costs for the pharmaceutical companies. With CDMOs providing support, they cannot only assist their pharmaceutical partners with the process of development and production, but they can also help with keeping costs and timelines in check. To achieve this, we should be able to identify the needs of our partners and have the capability to meet these requirements. This makes the technical expertise and engineering capabilities of our team very important, being the key to understanding our customers’ problems and finding the solutions to them. If we can foresee the problems we may encounter and are able to avoid them beforehand, this would be able to save us both time and money. As pharmaceutical companies look for a full-service CDMO that is able to guide them in the process of drug development, we, on the other hand, aim to seek a partner that could support us in device development. As we collaborate with companies that specialize in the development of drugs for inhalation therapy, they would be able to provide us with more informative feedback that could let us understand how to better improve and optimize our device. By offering better devices, the performance of the drug-device combination product may be improved, and users’ satisfaction may also be enhanced, creating a win-win situation for both the pharmaceutical company and the CDMO.

4. How to initiate, build, and maintain a strong relationship with pharmaceutical partners?

Through publishing scientific papers and attending international conferences, more and more pharmaceutical companies have come to know HCmed and our development capabilities. This provides a good chance for them to understand that HCmed has the expertise, equipment, and capability to support them in the process of new drug development as a full-service CDMO. Throughout the entire collaboration process, it is important that we understand the problems that they encounter and are able to solve them rapidly, so that time and cost could be kept in check, or even reduced. In short, we care and understand the needs of the pharmaceutical companies, and we are able to be there for them to solve any problem in time.

5. What is your projection on drug-nebulizer combination products based on mesh technology for current and future inhalation treatments?

COVID-19 has greatly affected the daily life of people around the world for the past two years. Since its appearance, COVID-19 has been linked to lung complications during and after the infection. This along with already existing conditions such as COPD and asthma, more people have noticed the importance of inhalation therapy. Under these circumstances, more and more pharmaceutical companies have started to take the initiative to contact HCmed and evaluate our vibrating mesh nebulizers. Even though there is an increasing demand for effective inhalation therapies in the market, the development process for drugs using this administration route is comparably more complicated than both IV injection and oral administration, which require less equipment in the development process and shorter development time. There is also always the probability of the drug development failing in a clinical trial. Pharmaceutical companies would have to be able to undertake the risks of not seeing the drug make it to the market. As a great amount of resources and capital investments is needed in the development process, small or medium-sized pharmaceutical companies would normally be inhibited to engage in the development of drugs used for inhalation. With the need for inhalation therapy in a rising trend, we see more chances of collaborating with international pharmaceutical companies in the future. No matter if we are targeting to treat common respiratory illnesses, rare diseases, or newly appearing conditions, we aim at becoming a full-service CDMO that could support our pharmaceutical partners to successfully bring an effective product to the market, aspiring to improve the quality of life of patients suffering from lung diseases.