Employee story

Meet Xinyi from Roche Shanghai

#CICoR #LeadDiscovery #R&D
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Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Xinyi Huang. I like running and hiking. I was born and raised in China. I went to the United States for my graduate study after completing my bachelor degree in China. I returned to work in China after 18 years of studying and working in the US. I joined Roche Shanghai in 2015.

What is your current role and how long have you been in it? 

I joined Roche in 2015 and have been in the role as the Head of Lead Discovery for 5 years. From May 2022, my role was expanded to Head of Lead Discovery and Antibody Discovery.

What is your expertise or research field area?

I am a biochemist by training. Lead Discovery and Antibody Discovery support China Innovation Center of Roche, CICoR portfolio projects in Immunology and Oncology. Lead Discovery is a cross-modality discovery function that enables the CICoR early portfolio, by driving the discovery of high quality small molecule and antibody therapeutic leads. Lead Discovery employs a plethora of advanced tools and technologies to drive assay development, compound logistics, screening, target engagement, protein science, biophysics and structure biology. Antibody Discovery is a new scientific function at CICoR that comprises the engineering, discovery and CMC development of antibody therapeutics. 

What made you decide to work in another country? 

I returned to work in China in 2010 after 10 years of working in the US in one of the leading biopharmaceutical companies. My decision to return to China was largely driven by two major factors: 1) the rapidly improving China macro environment for drug R&D, which in turn demands an influx of experienced drug hunters with oversea experience, and 2) the potential opportunity to expand my scope, from a discovery scientist to a discovery leader with responsibilities ranging from scientific leadership, to team building, and  finally to strategy and business development.

"Roche offers a complete package. Resources to sharpen your professional skills, teams and colleagues to genuinely collaborate with, a culture of supporting an individual's career growth, and a steadfast mission of doing now what patients need next."

Xinyi Huang
Principal Leader - Head of Lead Discovery and Biologics Discovery and Development
What do you think is China’s potential opportunity within R&D?

China is rapidly becoming one of the important players in the world in biopharmaceutical R&D and academic research in the bioscience runway. Along with the booming biotech industry,  there are many opportunities for candidates in discovery, development, and clinical areas. R&D positions in Roche are in my personal opinion premier career opportunities for job seekers who return from overseas.

How do you perceive the work environment in Roche to be in terms of agility? 

I very much appreciate the Roche culture of agility. At Roche, agility is not a buzzword, instead it is a way of life. At Roche, every colleague is encouraged to define your own development path and your breakthrough commitments. The company is genuinely interested in your development, whether related to deep expertise in your area, or wide knowledge outside your forte, or leadership and collaboration skills,  to which they offer a variety of resources and programs such as courses, mentoring, coaching and rotations to support your ambitions.

Using myself as an example, I joined Roche in 2015 as the head of a global biochemistry group (Basel and Shanghai) in Immunology Infectious Diseases Ophthalmology Discovery and Translational Area (I2O DTA) to support Immunology and Infectious Diseases projects. In the meantime I conceived a novel antibiotic project idea, drove the idea into a portfolio project and took over the additional role of the research project leader. In 2017 I moved to Therapeutic Modalities to take over the RICS Lead Discovery role. In 2020 I took the ownership to collaborate with a team of passionate colleagues to develop the MVP for CICoR Antibody Discovery in our spare time. This MVP laid the foundation for the current Antibody Discovery strategy. From early 2021, I became the ad interim head of Antibody Engineering, and  the head of Antibody Discovery in 2022. Throughout the process, I have received great support from the management, my line managers, and colleagues from many functions. 

Why should candidates be excited to join Roche?

Roche offers a complete package. Resources to sharpen your professional skills, teams and colleagues to genuinely collaborate with, a culture of supporting an individual's career growth, and a steadfast mission of doing now what patients need next. At Roche, challenges are yours to take while opportunities are yours to grab. At Roche, it is not only just about what you do, but also about how you do it.

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