Meet Our Leadership Team
The leadership team at CrownBio has a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry, and significant experience in building and operating businesses and major departments within the top US Pharmaceutical’s R&D and preclinical programs. Our objective is to deliver fast, cost-effective preclinical research services for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies.
Guo-Liang Yu, Ph.D.
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER
Dr. Yu co-founded Epitomics Inc., an antibody based Biotechnology Company recently acquired by Abcam for $170M. He served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Epitomics Inc. for 10 years. Dr. Yu's success is driven by his scientific curiosity and a passion for translating scientific discovery to real products. His challenge is to balance his time between science and business, fun and work, family and community.
He moved from China to the US to pursue advanced training after graduating from Fudan University in 1984. He obtained his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley where he contributed to the discovery of telomerase and its mechanism of action in Dr. Blackburn's lab. Drs. Blackburn and Greider received the Nobel Prize in 2009 for their discovery. After graduating, Dr. Yu joined Dr. Ausubel's lab at Harvard to pursue the question of how plants defend themselves against pathogens without an immune system. He identified the first plant disease resistance gene.
In 1993, Dr. Yu became one of the first Senior Scientists to join Human Genome Sciences Inc., when genomics was still in its infancy, to identify human genes for drug discovery. Among several important drug targets he studied, he successfully identified BLyS as the first genomic target for the development of a lupus antibody (Benlysta®, which was approved by the FDA in 2010).
In 1998, Dr. Yu was attracted by the idea of identifying plant genes with an economic value in agriculture and in bio-energy. He became SVP of R&D at Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. where his team analyzed the function of a complete set of plant transcription factors. Several valuable traits such as enhanced crop yield, disease resistance, and drought tolerance were identified. It is expected that some of these technologies will be commercialized.
Guo-Liang has co-authored 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles which have been referenced by the scientific community more than 6000 times. Guo-Liang is also a co-inventor of more than 200 patents. Guo-Liang is the founding president of the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association and serves on the boards of several professional organizations including BayHelix, CABS, the National Foundation of Cancer Research, the Ray Wu Memorial Foundation, and the University of the Pacific in the US and China. Dr. Yu is generous in coaching young entrepreneurs and also serves on the board of directors for six start-up companies.
Jean-Pierre Wery, Ph.D.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Prior to joining CrownBio, Dr. Wery was Chief Scientific Officer at Monarch Life Sciences, a company dedicated to the discovery and development of protein biomarkers. Prior to Monarch, Dr. Wery spent three years at Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc. where he was VP of Computational Drug Discovery. Before joining Vitae he worked for 12 years at Eli Lilly and Company in various scientific and management positions.
Dr. Wery received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Liege, Belgium. Following his Ph.D., he completed postdoctoral studies at Purdue University with Prof. Jack Johnson. Dr. Wery has authored more than 50 abstracts and publications.
Alex Wu, Ph.D.
PRESIDENT AND CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER
Dr. Alex Wu has extensive experience in the life science industry and academic research. Before co-founding CrownBio, he was CBO of Starvax International, a biotech company specialized in the development of novel therapeutic drugs for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Prior to Starvax, Alex was at Burrill & Company, a world leading life sciences merchant bank and venture capital firm. Before joining the venture capital industry, Alex was involved in several start-ups, one of which was Unimicro Technologies, Inc. He also worked for Hoffmann-La Roche as Manager of Business Development and Strategic Planning. Dr. Wu received his B.S. from Fudan University in Shanghai, China and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology and M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. He conducted post-doctoral research at Stanford University.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Mr. Bing Zhu is responsible for overseeing CrownBio’s global operations. From 2010 to 2013, Mr. Zhu was the Chief Strategy Officer of LDK Solar Co., Ltd., a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and concurrently an Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of LDK Silicon & Chemicals Technology Co., Ltd., a subsidiary majority owned by LDK Solar Co., Ltd. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Zhu was the Chief Financial Officer and a Director of Chemspec International Ltd., a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Zhu was with Canadian Solar Inc., whose head office is based in Suzhou, China, as Director and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, Mr. Zhu worked for four years in commercial banking in Toronto, Canada. From 1996 to 2000, Mr. Zhu was the Shanghai Chief Representative of Raytheon Corporation. From 1993 to 1996, Mr. Zhu was a corporate banking Account Manager for Banque Indosuez. Mr. Zhu holds an M.B.A. from the China Europe International Business School, and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Zhejiang University of Technology in China.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Eva Ho is responsible for leading the company’s global finance organization and serves as a member of the company’s Executive Committee. Eva joined CrownBio in June 2016 as Chief Financial Officer.
Eva has extensive finance leadership experience at multinational corporations across several industries. Before joining CrownBio, she served as CFO for TWi Pharmaceuticals, CFO and Spokesperson for Acer Computer, and EVP and CFO for The Test Rite Group. Prior to that, she held senior finance positions with Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Oracle.
Eva holds an M.B.A. degree in accounting from the University of Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from National Taiwan University. Eva is a certified public accountant in the state of Colorado, USA.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL STRATEGY, MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Laurie Heilmann brings more than 25 years of executive leadership experience and an exceptional track record in business development optimization to her role at CrownBio. Versed in the creation and development of new business channels and marketing strategies within the life sciences industry, Heilmann has led initiatives in biotech, drug development, medical devices, and health care technologies. Her diverse therapeutic background, particularly in oncology and metabolism, is essential for proffering CrownBio's preclinical services and products worldwide for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Before joining CrownBio, Heilmann held senior positions in prominent drug and device development companies and was an executive director at Strong-Bridge Consulting, where she created the firm's health care and life sciences practice. She also helped establish the for-profit division of the American College of Radiology in her role as VP of Global Sales and Business Development at Image Metrix, and she achieved 140% of goal sales in the company's first fiscal year.
- Led global sales and business development initiatives for enterprise-wide software solutions in numerous heath care segments, two of which resulted in successful IPOs.
- Restarted a global core ECG CRO, increased its sales tenfold, and successfully positioned the company for sale.
- Co-founded and grew a niche Oncology CRO from five partners to 250 employees in less than five years and successfully sold the company a year later.
- Created and executed market strategies that generated 89% incremental annual sales in three years, with 40% less-than-planned manpower.
Heilmann's synthesis of business, clinical research, and technological acumen is ideal for assessing needs and assembling strategically sound, high-value solutions for CrownBio's clients. Her multifaceted experience from concept to commercialization, and knowledge of FDA and sponsor requirements in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, is vital to CrownBio's strategic global growth, as well as its expansion in the preclinical services market. She is an active member of numerous industry organizations, is a registered nurse, and holds a bachelor's degree in business. Connect with Laurie on LinkedIn.
Qian Shi, Ph.D.
VICE PRESIDENT OF CANCER PHARMACOLOGY AND IN VITRO CANCER BIOLOGY, GENERAL MANAGER OF CROWN BIOSCIENCE (TAICANG) INC.Dr. Qian Shi currently leads cell line based in vitro and in vivo departments in Crown Bioscience. He is also the General Manager of Crown’s Taicang site. Dr. Shi obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Fudan University, majoring in Genetics. In 2001 he obtained his Ph.D. degree in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas at Houston, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. After graduation, he moved to Boston to pursue post-doctoral training in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. He brings with him years of cancer research experience from both industry and academia, with investigator position at Arqule Inc. and Professor/Principal Investigator at Fudan University. Qian has authored more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited 2 books in biopharmaceutical sciences, and been the senior author of publications in leading journals such as Molecular Cell.
Yixin (Jim) Wang, M.D.
SVP CARDIOVASCULAR AND METABOLIC DISEASES (CVMD) RESEARCH; PRESIDENT OF Crown Bioscience Indianapolis (CBIN) and Louisiana (CBLA), Inc.
Dr. Wang started his academic career as a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University in 1987. In 1992 he became an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee in Memphis where he worked until 1996. He has worked in several major Pharma (GSK, Roche, Schering/Bayer AG) as a Scientist, Senior Scientist, and Principle Scientist from 1990 to 2008 and in a start-up biotech (Arete Therapeutics, Inc.) as a Director of Pharmacology from 2008 to 2009.
In 2010, he joined CrownBio as the Head of CVMD Research.ENIOR VP CARDIOVASCULAR AND METABOLIC DISEASES (CVMD) RESEARCH; PRESIDENT OF Crown Bioscience Indianapolis (CBIN) and Louisiana (CBLA), Inc. He has authored nearly 100 publications between research articles, invited reviewers, and book chapters, and has submitted patent applications in the areas of diabetes and metabolic diseases, heart and renal failure, hypertension, thrombosis, hemophilia, atherosclerosis and dyslipidemia, hemodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, safety pharmacology, etc. He has been involved in all stages of pharmaceutical R&D, from early stage target discovery and validation, to compound (large and small molecules) discovery, selection and profiling, IND filing, and clinical trials in Phase I & II.
Henry Li, Ph.D.
VP, BIOMARKER & DIAGNOSTIC TECHNOLOGY
Henry QX Li, Ph.D. leads CrownBio's Biomarker and Diagnostic Technologies Division, developing novel proprietary translational technologies for precise cancer diagnosis, predictive biomarker discovery, immuno-oncology biomarker detection and quantification, as well as rare cell identification and characterization. Prior to this, Dr. Li has led CrownBio’s Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) based translational oncology platform (2011-2016) when he joined Crown. Before joining CrownBio, Dr. Li has over 20 years of biopharmaceutical, as well as academic R&D, experience in cancer and viral infection, including leadership roles as R&D Director/Senior Director in several US-based biotech companies. Dr. Li currently holds visiting Professor position at Peking University-State Key Laboratory.
Dr. Li earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry from the University of California (Irvine) and completed his postdoctoral training at UCLA School of Medicine. He has published more than 60 manuscripts and edited 3 books in the biopharmaceutical areas. He is also on the editorial board of Current Signal Transduction Therapy.