FROM THE PUBLISHER
Unprecedented fight against the novel coronavirus is taking place in the United States and the world. Government leaders announced emergency executive orders to contain the spread of the virus. The U.S. government has also taken rapid measurements in therapeutic development for COVID-19, which included approval of decades-old malaria drug chloroquine in use for treating COVID-19.
Bayer, a global pharmaceutical company, responded by donating 3 million tablets to the U.S., and now Novartis, Mylan, and Teva are taking steps to deliver hundreds of millions of tablets to U.S. citizens to help them combat the disease. Multinational companies are showing their commitment and efforts to contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens, and witnessing such contributions is truly inspirational.
Interviewing Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong gave me a similar feeling of inspiration. The fundamental motivation for all of his accomplishments was affection toward people. His curiosity, research, and businesses all began from care and concern towards the people and their health. The impetus of his journey and reasoning of his work is saving peoples’ lives from a terminal illness and threatening conditions. Furthermore, his philanthropic work reflects that he is an initiator who doesn't stop at his words, but puts his thoughts and words into action. In this sense, I see Dr. Soon-Shiong as a true teacher and role model to all of us in the life sciences industry.
We also had the chance to interview Stanley Kim, J.D., CEO of WinSanTor, for the entrepreneur interview. Mr. Kim mentioned that there are two principles that have driven his highly accomplished career. One was understanding the underlying mechanism of any problem, and the other was trying to solve problems with useful solutions. His principles of problem-solving led him to great success in repurposing drugs for patient needs.
In addition, this month’s articles feature new trends and issues of the bio-health industry. In partnership with BioCentury and Biopharma Insight, we share significant and recent industry news with our readers.
Various writers and experts impart their knowledge and insights as co-authors in this edition of WAMJ. I sincerely hope that our readers will find these exciting selections of articles to be helpful and inspiring.
DoHyun Cho, PhD
President & CEO of W Medical Strategy Group
Chairman of New York Health Forum
FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
WAMJ is excited to offer in this issue an interview with Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., a true Renaissance man. Dr. Soon-Shiong was born in South Africa, where the lives of those of Chinese ancestry were not easy. At an early age, this son of a medicinal herbalist identified medicine as his career goal. The future surgeon was educated there, in Canada, and the U.S., and at academic medical centers achieved notable advances in transplantation surgery and the management of cancer and diabetes. Despite his clinical prowess, however, Dr. Soon-Shiong soon applied his formidable talents to a veritable smorgasbord of other fields, including pharmaceutical development, stem cell research, biotechnology, health information technology, supercomputers, augmented intelligence, journalism, philanthropy, and even, as a minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, professional sports. Perhaps somewhat less known than many of his other accomplishments was a stint at NASA, where, as part of the Shuttle program, he performed experiments to investigate the science of stem cells and nanotechnology. Today, Dr. Soon-Shiong and his colleagues, harnessing both innate killer cells and adaptive T cells, have made major progress towards the development of chemotherapy-free cancer memory vaccine, which has shown impressive efficacy against triple negative breast cancer and head and neck cancers. Ordinarily, when WAMJ interviews prominent medical scientists, academics, and researchers, busy people all, we do our best to use their precious time efficiently. A time is set, and we tailor the interview to be sure it can be completed in the time allowed. It is telling, then, and a sure indication of the breadth and depth of Dr. Soon-Shiong’s learning and contributions, that we had to complete his interview in two sessions. The first, you see, was interrupted by an urgent call from a highly- placed government official seeking advice on how best to manage the fight against COVID-19. We also have the privilege to present an interview with serial entrepreneur Stanley Kim, J.D., CEO of WinSanTor, a biotechnology company focused on the development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. Mr. Kim’s company recycles compounds, in this case an existing API with nearly 40 years of use in the management of gastric ulcers. Using “repurposed” medicines, with their well- established safety profiles, minimizes risks associated with most drug development, particularly those related to safety and manufacturing. This approach reduces cost, time to development and concerns about potential side-effects. Finally, this issue provides several Biopharma Reports, on a new approach to melanoma trials, Evofem's Amphora, COVID-19's implications for small biotechs, and the need to see that COVID-19 vaccines don't make infections worse. We hope and trust you will enjoy Issue 21, especially Dr. Soon-Shiong's reminiscences and observations.
Joseph P. McMenamin, MD, JD, FCLM
Editor in Chief
EVP of W Medical Strategy Group