Dr. Zheng has served as CEO and a member of our board of directors since he co-founded the company in 2012. He has over 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in the autoimmune disease and inflammation therapeutic areas. Prior to co-founding Connect, Dr. Zheng was Director of Immunology at Arena Pharmaceuticals where he oversaw its immunology discovery programs. Prior to serving at Arena, Dr. Zheng was a scientist and program leader at ChemoCentryx, where he led the implementation of the company’s proprietary technology platform, and the discovery of drug candidates that entered Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for autoimmune disease indications, including Crohn’s disease. Dr. Zheng was a scientist at Glycomed (acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals) and also conducted immunology research at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Zheng is an inventor of 16 issued patents and several pending patent applications on immunology related therapeutic agents and technologies. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Pan is a co-founder of Connect and has served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors since May 2012. He has over 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical R&D, including 10 years in Europe and North America. Prior to co-founding Connect, Dr. Pan co-founded and led Crown Bioscience Inc., a U.S. venture-backed company with major operations in China (Beijing & Shanghai) providing CRO services to international biopharmaceutical companies. Prior to Crown Bioscience, Dr. Pan was the Vice President at TsingHuaYuanXing Biopharmaceutical Co. Ltd., where he played key roles for the development of several gene-based therapeutic biologics. He was involved in the development and successful marketing of several biomedical products. Dr. Pan obtained his Ph.D. in Biology from University of Sussex (U.K.) and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California at Berkeley. He holds an MBA from Tsing-Hua University.
Dr. Chin Lee joined Connect as Chief Medical Officer in March 2022 and brings more than 15 years of clinical research and development experience in the biopharmaceutical industry across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to Connect, Dr. Lee served as Vice President, Head of Clinical Science, and Chief Medical Officer at Theravance Biopharma, Inc. Previously, Dr. Lee was Lead Group Medical Director within the Genentech Research & Early Development (gRED) group at Genentech, Inc. Dr. Lee also held roles of increasing responsibility at Eli Lilly & Company, serving most recently as Global Senior Medical Director, Immunology Therapeutic Area, within the Bio-medicines Business Unit, and he also served as Associate Medical Director, Immunoscience Group, at Abbott. He has successfully led the submission of global regulatory filings, including for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals, and product commercialization across multiple autoimmune and immunology disease indications. Before entering the biopharmaceutical industry, Dr. Lee was on the academic faculty at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology. Dr. Lee received a B.S. in Biology and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.P.H. from Northwestern University.
Mr. Bian has served as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer since August 2021. He joined Connect Biopharma from Guardant Health, Inc., a publicly traded precision oncology diagnostics company, based in Redwood City, California, where he served as Senior Counsel. Prior to Guardant Health, Mr. Bian was with Shartsis Friese LLP where he focused on corporate and technology licensing areas of legal advisory. Mr. Bian also held positions of increasing responsibility, including Senior Counsel at Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company. He received his LL.B. from Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Chongqing, China, and his LL.M. in Intellectual Property and J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
Steven Chan joined Connect as CFO in November 2021. He brings 25+ years of financial experience leading life science, technology, financial services, and manufacturing companies. Most recently, he was CFO at Delphon Industries, an advanced materials manufacturer based in the Bay Area. Prior to that, he built out the finance teams at Arcus Biosciences and MyoKardia, where he helped lead their respective IPO’s and subsequently established the necessary public company infrastructures. Mr. Chan also held senior leadership roles at commercial-stage companies like Solta Medical, Moody’s Analytics and Logitech. He received his B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and is a Certified Public Accountant in California (inactive status).
Dr. Sun has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical development of biologics focused on process development, CMC, and manufacturing operations. Prior to joining Connect, Dr. Sun served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Manufacturing at Autekbio Diagnostics. Prior to serving at Autekbio Diagnostics, Dr. Sun supported drug development at PERCIVIA, UCB Pharma, Shire Pharmaceuticals and DSM/Crucell JV. Dr. Sun has more than 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals and was an inventor of multiple patents in biologics and process development. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and completed his postdoctoral training in molecular immunology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Raúl Collazo joined the Company in November 2021 to lead the Medical Affairs function. He has over 20 years of Medical Affairs experience in small biotech and large pharmaceutical environments. Additionally, he brings extensive expertise advising pre-commercial life science companies on medical/scientific affairs, compliance, operations, and corporate strategy through his own consulting firm. Prior to joining Connect Biopharma, he served in senior leadership positions in various organizations, most recently as Principal Consultant for Skysis/Fishawack Health and VP of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Biotheranostics, an oncology diagnostics company acquired by Hologic. Earlier in his career, Dr. Collazo served as Head of Medical Affairs for several companies working in the areas of gastroenterology, dermatology, inflammatory diseases, oncology, diabetes/obesity, and neurology. He earned his PhD in Neurophysiology at the University of Oregon and completed postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Dr. Smith joined Connect in September 2021 and has more than 15 years of drug discovery experience primarily focused on the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Prior to joining Connect, Dr. Smith was Senior Director of Inflammation and Autoimmunity at Incyte Corporation where he established the discovery research team including the FDA approvals of Opzelura™ (ruxolitinib cream) for atopic dermatitis and Jakafi™ (oral ruxolitinib) for acute and chronic graft versus host disease. Prior to that role, Dr. Smith was the global research lead for Gilenya™ (fingolimod), the first regulatory approved sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator and Kesimpta™ (ofatumumab) a differentiated anti-CD20 therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. He was also Director of Pharmacology at Merck Serono responsible for preclinical inflammation and biomarker discovery and Senior Scientist at UCB focusing on novel biologics-based treatment strategies for inflammatory diseases. Dr. Smith is an inventor on fifteen issued or pending patents. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology and Neuroscience at Imperial College London, UK and a B.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Bath, UK.
Mr. Yau Wing Yiu (Felix), has served as Vice President, Finance of the company since May 2021. He has over 25 years of experience in accounting and financial management, corporate finance and investment banking.
Mr. Yau joined Connect from ARM Pacific Capital, a private equity firm based in Hong Kong where he was a Partner. Prior to ARM Pacific Capital, Mr. Yau served as Chief Financial Officer of China Everbright Water Ltd. (listed in both Hong Kong and Singapore) and held leadership roles for several private and publicly listed companies including China Strategic Holdings, AID Partners Capital Ltd., PCCW, Microsoft China and BNP Peregrine.
Mr. Yau is a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a MBA from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Dr. Longphre has more than 20 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience in immunology, inflammation and respiratory therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Connect, Dr. Longphre was Director of Clinical Research at Novartis where she oversaw development of inhaled anti-inflammatory combination products to treat lung disease. Prior to that role, Dr. Longphre was a founding scientist at Aerovance, a spin-out of Bayer Biotechnology’s respiratory biologics portfolio, where her discovery research contributed to the understanding of the importance of IL-4 and IL-13 dysregulation in asthma and atopic dermatitis, and she directed studies of drug candidates that entered Phase 1-3 clinical trials for respiratory disease indications and atopic dermatitis. She was also a discovery scientist at Bristol-Myers Squibb in the department of Immunology, Inflammation and Pulmonary Disease and conducted respiratory inflammation research at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Longphre is an inventor of nine issued patents for therapeutic entities and targets. She received her Ph.D. in Pulmonary Physiology Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins University and a M.A. and B.A. in Biology from University of North Carolina Greensboro.
Dr. QJ Wang joined Connect in July 2021 to lead the nonclinical programs. He is an experienced pharmacology and toxicology professional with about 30 years of experience working in various capacities in pre/nonclinical drug R&D. Prior to joining the company, he was a Senior Director of R&D at FibroGen, San Francisco. QJ is a key inventor of marketed roxadustat, an innovative first-in-class oral medication utilizing hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) biology and technique, and Pamrevlumab, a potential first-in-class antibody that inhibits the activity of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) that is in late-stage Phase 3 clinical development for 3 major indications. He received his Ph.D in Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of California, Davis and completed postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology at University of Tennessee, Memphis.
Mr. McDade is Co-founder and Managing Partner of the Qiming US Healthcare Fund, a venture capital firm based in Seattle and formed in January 2017. Prior to Qiming, from April 2008 until his retirement in October 2016, Mr. McDade was EVP and Chief Operating Officer at UCB S.A., a Belgian biopharmaceutical company. From 2002 to 2007, Mr. McDade served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of PDL BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. McDade was Chief Executive Officer of Signature BioScience, Inc., a drug discovery company. From 1994 to 2000, Mr. McDade served as Chief Operating Officer and a director of Corixa Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company he co-founded in Seattle. Prior to Corixa, Mr. McDade held various roles at Boehringer Mannheim (now part of Roche) and previously Sandoz (now part of Novartis). Mr. McDade chairs the board of directors of Aimmune Therapeutics (AIMT-nasdaq) and serves as a Trustee for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a non-profit. Mr. McDade received a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.