Founder of biotech company succeeds
With both military and medical training, Wu Jianying, one of the founders of Haohai Biological Technology, displays decisive and vivid characteristics.
The 57-year-old also has a good sense of humor, underscored by self-deprecation.
Listening to how he developed Haohai Biological Technology based in Songjiang, which is now a leading enterprise focused on research and development, manufacture and sale of biomedical materials, one can only be impressed with his courage and sense. Business.
The company targets the rapidly growing therapeutic area of the biomedical materials market, including ophthalmology, medical aesthetics and wound healing, orthopedics, anti-adhesion and hemostasis.
If Wu hadn’t made the choice to start the business 20 years ago, he would still be a general surgeon.
“I was admitted to Yangzhou City Naval Medicine University in neighboring Jiangsu Province in 1983,” he told the Shanghai Daily, “so I got dual identity – a doctor military.
After completing his master’s degree at the university in 1989, he spent 10 years as a general surgeon at Changzheng Hospital in Shanghai.
“I was one of the first general surgeons in China to learn about liver transplant surgery,” he recalls.
The team he was with experimented with mice and pigs until they were ready for the country’s first successful human transplant into a child.
“I have been involved in the oldest liver transplant surgery in our country so far.”
“To cure diseases and save people” was his simplest wish.
“As a medical worker, as long as you work hard and persist, you will surely make progress in the end despite all the difficulties,” he said.
On the front line of medical diagnosis and treatment, Wu got to know patients and their families face to face. He and his colleagues have witnessed too many tragedies.
Due to technical barriers, many domestic markets for biomedical products have long been monopolized by foreign companies.
Sometimes patients had to pay high prices for biomedical products, such as intraocular lenses, a special lens made of synthetic materials, which can help cataract patients with their eyesight.
About 10 to 20 years ago, an imported intraocular lens cost between 15,000 yuan (US $ 2,328) and 30,000 yuan. The high price has prevented many patients from having surgery in China.
“If you work as a doctor, you might be able to treat one patient after another,” he said. “But if you can fix the problem at the source, you can benefit groups of people in need.”
Eager to revitalize the development of the national biopharmaceutical industry and bring a better life to families, he began to venture into the business world in 1999.
“It was really difficult at first, a doctor doing business is really under pressure,” Wu recalls. “I was a drug sales rep with only 1,200 yuan a month.”
However, the difficulties did not stop him. He then joined a public company to train in corporate finance.
In an area he had never set foot in before, Wu worked hard, finding his way, which also laid a solid foundation for future entrepreneurs.
In 2007, Wu and his team merged and acquired three former state-owned companies that developed, produced and sold medical sodium hyaluronate, forming the basis of today’s Haohai biological technology.
“Only by forming a joint force can we show a strategic advantage in competing with foreign companies,” he said.
In addition to the support of the Songjiang District Government, Wu invested almost everything he had in the business.
“I sold two of my apartments for the company,” he said.
The movement turned out to be far-sighted. After the merger, the company achieved profitability in its second year.
Advanced technology is the other reason for the company’s success.
He believes that R&D is the engine of long-term competitiveness, as well as future growth and development.
More than 200 R&D professionals currently work for the company.
Since 2017, the company has been included in the list of National Enterprise Technology Centers and had a National Postdoctoral R&D Workstation and University Expert Workstation at city level.
More than 40 invention patents have been filed by the company over the past 14 years.
Today, based on intraocular lens sales volume and domestic cataract surgery case count, the company has captured about 30% of the IOL market in China.
The market share of the company’s orthopedic viscosupplementation products, ophthalmic viscoelastic device and anti-adhesion products was 43.30 percent, 45.24 percent and 29.90 percent, respectively, according to its website.
Besides a successful entrepreneur, Wu also has a zest for life. He and his former comrades in arms formed a choir.
“We spent time singing together to remember the past,” he said with a big smile.