An Interview with Eric Chen Ph.D Head of Biomedical Business Unit at Megaforce Company Limited

How did you become interested in the field of medical technology?

My PhD focus is finding the right treatment for patients who are suffering from chronic lung diseases.  I graduated with the feeling that I that I have the experience to come up with  feasible neuromedicine that can help those suffering with CB/COPD. But then the next question is, even if we have the right set of medicine, therapy, how exactly do we deliver to the patient? Not only do we have to have the right medicine, we also have to have the right drug delivery system.

How did your previous experience inform your approach today?

I entered a pharmaceutical company called GSK for my first job after college. GSK is the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world and they really specialize in new drug discovery. I learned how to innovate and, and I did research to develop these ideas for example, finding the right target and finding the right medication. I began to understand that in order to generate one correct medicine or in order to bring a medication to the world, it takes approximately eight to ten years if we're lucky. I said to myself, wow creating a new medication and a new pharmaceutical drug is wonderful thing, but it wouldn't be very helpful if I don't have the right delivery system.

Were you able to find any solutions for drug delivery systems?

I spent the next five to six years developing pulmonary and drug delivery systems while working side by side with a physician who worked in this specialty. That's where I really invested a lot of my time, not only the medication part but also in R&D processing for the delivery device, manufacturing, pre sales, and sales and after sales. In a lot of those meetings, I worked with large pharmaceutical companies and began to understand the value of their combination products which is coined for the combination of medication plus the drug delivery systems that are built in the device.

What happened next?

This gave me a very clear picture that I should be stepping outside of pure pharmaceutical types of business and into a medical device business. because It took me close to about two to three years to finish one product and to be able to bring it onto the market successfully. By that time we pretty much completed a high barrier to entry. We sold the product off to a pharmaceutical company and we also licensed the technology to a few other pharmaceutical companies which was worth close to 15 million US dollars. So then I thought, wow, maybe, med tech is a faster way for us to to make a meaningful impact or progressive change in a patient's life. The key to this work was to talk with, co-ELLs, pulmonologists, and respiratory therapists. I visited various respiratory centers to talk with COPD patients, asthma patients, and even surgeons working with these patients.

This is incredible work, how is Megaforce primed to innovate for their clients?

By the time I joined Megaforce I was starting to encounter a lot of difficulties, with product development and marketing strategy. I'm more interested in how can I do it differently, that I can touch more people, and to be able to develop meaningful meaningful programs which I had already proven could improve lives.  So, that was when I joined Megaforce because I know it's platform provides the services and expertise from a manufacturing perspective, and also from product lifecycle management perspective. We can help many clients from the initial inception and all the way towards product development, manufacturing, sales. Not only are we helping more clients to develop the right product and to bring them onto the market but also to help them to sale. And not just in the US, but also in Asia. The most important skill we have is that we can produce multiple products in one year. It's a very meaningful aspect for us as a group, to collaborate and share responsibility for bringing the product to the market. That's why I actually got into the business in the first place.

Who are the top clients that you're committed to in 2022?

We target, three different types of clients. The first target are clients at medium sized companies, you know, anywhere between about 80 to 200 staff members. They often come with products that are relatively finalized and ready to go. Our job is to streamline the manufacturing process and discover new verticals for that product. The second type of customer are startups. And for startups, you know, we help them with documentation and regulatory requirements.

Startups usually don't have large quantities or large financial backing, but because most of our clients are Fortune 500 we have found a way to make it easy to work with startups from a process driven approach. And we know and appreciate that is difficult to start a company from ground zero. We do our best to somehow safeguard and harness the value of startups, because we know that one day they may become the next unicorn.

The third type of customers we have are large companies. I would like to take a minute to dispel some, I would say, misconceptions about very large companies. We assume that for a large company that they have a lot of the resources and they're moving very fast or efficiently, but that may not be true. These companies are just as likely to outsource large projects, and that means we can repeat what we do even for the small clients who are asking for the same package and develop the whole program with them. At Megaforce we try to equally, invest our time on, on these three sectors.

I just want to pinpoint something you said because it sounds very important. Medium sized companies with about 80 to 200 employees who have existing product lines are the most common type of clientele for Megaforce. But you also work with small startups who surprisingly ask for the same things that Fortune 500. Both groups ask you to develop the whole program from start to finish as well making your work compatible for the next unicorn or the next huge market entry...

Startup companies are very limited within domain knowledge and they will need help to complete the entire process. Without our help it will take them a very long time to start a project. But their desire is to be aggressive and get the product on the market, so you know so they can't wait. This is where we at Megaforce are in the position to fill the gap. We have the right experience and the right speed, I enjoy this work because it is no longer a typical or traditional contract manufacturing, it is product development from the top to the bottom.

The reason we're interested in helping clients develop their own products from scratch is because the typical approach is to pick and choose a few suppliers that will race down to the bottom. These are products where Megaforce cannot add much value. We're really trying to solve what the client cannot solve by themselves. We are living in an era where we put a tremendous amount of emphasis on innovative value, as opposed to trying to make tissue paper. So if Megaforce cannot contribute from the technological perspective we may not take on the case. In some rare cases we may forego helping with the manufacturing in order to lend our medical marketing expertise to the sales perspective. So, although that we may not be able to help the client from our manufacturing perspective we can help the client sell their products, thereby expanding our own value chain. So picking the right client is very important to us so we can continue making bigger and better products.

So, one of the key things I took note of is that, you also want to help your customers, expand the market for their product.

Absolutely. I mean, every company has its own value chain, and depending on the size and depending on the experts, each company has its own strengths and weaknesses. So, what we really wanted to do is strive to be not just a solution provider but also an enhancement of their product lifecycle.