From an oncologist with 10 years of clinical experience to a physician in multinational corporations (MNCs) before joining Laekna, Wenyue has always been seeking new breakthroughs. The sense of achievement she gained from working at Laekna has made her dreams clearer.
Q1 Why did you join Laekna?
A: After working for several years in MNCs, I was eager to take on more challenging work. I found Laekna to be a great fit due to their pipeline covering oncology, a field that I am familiar with and interested in. I’m most impressed by the core product LAE002, which targets AKT and is one of the two AKT inhibitors that have entered registrational clinical trials globally.
The management team of Laekna, including CMO Dr. Yue Yong, Senior Vice President Ms. Amy Xie, and CEO Dr. Chris Lu, all exude professional knowledge and accumulated experience from MNCs, as well as the passion of entrepreneurship.
Q2 What role does the Medical Department play in clinical development?
A: The Medical Department participates in clinical development strategies, develops clinical trial protocols, ensures the rigorous implementation of trials, regulates data accuracy, and communicates with investigators on project progress, among other functions. Our focus is on data and patient management.
Q3 The headquarters of Laekna located in Shanghai. Does it bring any challenges as your team is based in Beijing?
A: We work closely with the team in Shanghai. Although we communicate online more often than offline due to Covid-19, our communication stays strong and the teamwork is very smooth.
Collaboration with other departments is a big help. For example, the scientists from Discovery Research provide us with strong support. Dr. Zhang Minhua worked with our team to draft protocols, evaluate and guide vendors, and interpret reports. The establishment of preclinical candidate compounds (PCCs) is a new area for us, so Dr. Zhang Ruipeng offered to take a morning to explain it to our team.
Wenyue Ma (third from the left) and other members from Leakna's Clinical Development team
Q4 All your team members have experiences as doctors. How does past medical experience help you develop new drugs better?
A: Past medical experience allows us to better understand patients' pain and needs, and all decisions and suggestions are aimed at benefiting patients.
For example, a patient contracted severe COVID-19 and had to stop anti-tumor treatment for two months. After recovering from the coronavirus, a tricky question arose: should we resume the pre-COVID-19 trial medication? After evaluating with investigators, we ultimately decided to restart the medication and closely monitor the patient. Subsequent evaluation showed that the tumor shrank significantly.
Q5 As a mother of two, how do you balance work and life?
A: The area that my family lives in Beijing has a less competitive environment for education, where my children are put under a nine-year system that integrates the elementary school and the middle school This spares us the pressure of picking another middle school for them later.
I pick them up after work and we walk home together, talking with each other. After dinner, I read research literature while they do homework next to me, creating a studious atmosphere. The most interesting part is having conference calls with US colleagues at night. As soon as they hear the English meeting, they just get sleepy and save me the energy to put them to bed.
Wenyue Ma (second from the right) is discussing clinical projects with other colleagues
Q6 What is your career goal? Can working at Laekna help you achieve it?
My dream is to become the person who knows the new drug that I am involved in developing the best, not only leading it to registration but also understanding its mechanism of action, like how it enters and acts in the human body.
At Laekna, as the projects progress, the sense of achievement accumulates, and my career goal has become clearer. The Laekna platform allows me to grow quickly through trial and error. The feeling of growing together with the company is the most precious to me.
One day of Wenyue
Review important cases, research literature, analyze data, and discuss the findings with colleagues
Attend project meetings or communicate with investigators
Have internal discussions or one-on-one talks with team members
Join conference calls with colleagues in the US (as scheduled)
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