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Startup Stories: China-Based ZXBio Develops and Manufactures Antibody-Based Medical Products

In this series, we talk to student and alumni entrepreneurs about how they are making an impact with their startups.

Yang Zhang

Venture: ZXBio, Inc. (正熙生物) develops and manufactures antibody-based research reagents, diagnostic reagents, and therapeutics in China. The company’s research, development, and manufacturing facility targets unmet medical needs in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic fields.

Founder: Yang Zhang ’19, a graduate of the Yale School of Management and the Yale School of Public Health

What was the moment when you had the idea for this startup?

In 2014, I learned that a friend with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma chose traditional treatment because of the high cost of Rituximab, a biological antibody drug that has excellent therapeutic efficacy. At that time, such advanced therapeutic drugs were almost nonexistent in China. I realized that China lacked domestic companies that could manufacture biological diagnostic tools and pharmaceutical drugs. After studying at Yale SOM, I identified in vitro diagnostic raw antibody material and flow cytometry antibody reagents as a good entry market in China, and I launched ZXBio in China in 2017.

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve or the gap that you’re trying to fill?

For the in vitro diagnostic (IVD) and pharmaceutical industry, most antibody raw materials, diagnostic reagents, and biological drugs are imported from foreign companies. China lacks the R&D and manufacturing capacity for these biological materials. I want to provide low-cost, high-quality diagnostic and pharmaceutical products for local people, filling a critical gap in the upstream value chain of the Chinese pharmaceutical and IVD industry.

What was the most important resource Yale SOM contributed to your startup?

Yale helped me develop an approach for thinking about my personal and career development. I learned to strive for excellence while developing skills that will generate value in the market. At Yale SOM, I was exposed to the financial, consulting, and business worlds. I began to appreciate the entire healthcare industry landscape, which helped me make decisions about my own career path. I’ve also worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital as a clinical trial coordinator. The experience has helped me understand how bench science, drug development, and clinical application work together.

What’s the biggest milestone your startup has hit since graduation?

Since our founding, ZXBio has developed and launched hundreds of diagnostic reagents for cancer, infectious disease, and immunological disease. We’ve built a 10,700-square-foot antibody development platform and a 10,500-square-foot GMP facility for antibody diagnostic reagent production. We also operate a 20,000-square-foot, third-party diagnostic center, and in 2022, we launched a commercial center in Shanghai. Also in 2022, we completed a Pre-A round financing with a Chinese A-share listed IVD company, Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech Co., Ltd, which is one of the highest market value companies in China’s IVD market