Samantha Du, PhD, is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Zai Lab Ltd (Zai). During her career, she has been a successful drug developer, entrepreneur, investor and an overall industry leader in China, recognized for her wide influence on healthcare policies and for her work with various government bodies in China.
Dr. Du began her career with Pfizer in the US where she was responsible for the company’s global metabolic licensing program and was also involved in the development of multiple early and late stage products, including two global blockbusters.
Dr. Du achieved her first success as an entrepreneur with the founding of Hutchison MediPharma (HMP), widely recognized as a leader of innovative drug R&D in China, bringing five category 1.1 drugs into clinical trials. In addition to the development of a rich pipeline in oncology and autoimmune diseases, she established partnerships with multinational companies such as AstraZeneca, J&J, Lilly, Merck Serono and Nestle.
Following her time at HMP, she joined Sequoia Capital as head of healthcare investments for China, making significant returns to the fund during her two-year tenure.
Driven by her passion for drug development and entrepreneurship, Dr. Du returned to her roots and founded Zai in 2014 with the goal of bringing innovative transformative medicines to China and creating a globally recognized biopharmaceutical leader. Dr. Du successfully took Zai public on the NASDAQ in September 2017, which represented the highest valuation of a biotech IPO over the previous two years.
Dr. Du is also a Founding Managing Director of a life sciences venture firm Quan Capital. A firm with $300M+ assets under management and actively investing in innovative therapeutic leaders and enabling technology platforms and services, with strong coverage both in the US and in China.
Dr. Du has been recognized for her many achievements in both China and the US, receiving numerous awards and recognition including 2015 FierceBiotech’s Top 12 Women in Biopharma, 2017 Bayhelix Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016 BayHelix Person of the Year Award and 2015 R&D Leader of the Year, China Central Government highest honor for Innovator of the Year Award 2016, Shanghai 2018 Magnolia Gold Award, China’s Thousand Talent Program 2017 and China Entrepreneur of the Year 2008, among many others. Dr. Du was featured by many magazines and newspapers around the world, including WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes and Nature Reviews for her significant contribution to China’s life science industry and she was on the cover of Forbes Asia in 2007. Dr. Du is currently an adjunct professor at Fudan University, School of Pharmacy. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cincinnati.