BeiGene founder honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at BWB

Industry veteran Pearl Huang, who now heads up Dunad Therapeutics, received the top honor at this year's Biotech Week Boston (BWB) Awards.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

September 19, 2023

2 Min Read
BeiGene founder honored with Lifetime Achievement Award at BWB

Industry veteran Pearl Huang, who now heads up Novartis-backed biotech Dunad Therapeutics, received the top honor at this year’s Biotech Week Boston (BWB) Awards.

On a night honoring the cream of the life sciences’ crop, the final accolade saw Pearl Huang claim the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“As a scientist who became a CEO, as a scientist who became a mother and recently a grandmother, there is much for us to do,” she said as she picked up the award. “We are here because we want to make a difference for patients and we know we can. I love doing this job, I love being in organizations that are small but mighty, that’s how I started, and we can make a profound difference for the world.”


Huang has more than 30 years of experience in both the pharma and biotech fields, having jumped straight into the industry after completing her Ph.D. in molecular biology at Princeton University.

She has held a series of strategy and decision-making roles at Merck & Co., GlaxoSmithKline, DuPont, Roche, and Cygnal Therapeutics. However, it was during her first tenure at GlaxoSmithKline in 2000 that, while exploring China as a potential market for clinical trials to support her drug pipeline, she was struck by the number of people who needed access to cancer medicines.

This drove Huang’s ambition to build a biotech company in the country – “for China by China” – and, with other business partners, she co-founded BeiGene in 2010 and served as chief scientific officer until 2012, developing the company’s initial drug discovery pipeline and moving the company’s first programs into the clinic.

BeiGene has since evolved into a publicly traded global oncology biopharma, with three approved medicines and a long multimodal pipeline. Huang, meanwhile, returned to Big Pharma, taking leadership roles at GSK and Roche before joining Cygnal Therapeutics and leading a $65 million fundraise to launch the company.

Today, Huang is applying her scientific expertise combined with her strong leadership background as CEO of Dunad Therapeutics, developing next-generation targeted oral protein degradation therapies.

Huang also gave a shoutout to the city of Boston, describing the biotech environment as unique in the world. She also gave advice to those running biotechs: “Realise as a leader you have a huge responsiblity, but also you’re human as well.”

The other winners on the night were:

  • START-UP OF THE YEAR: Aera Therapeutics

  • DE&I INITIATIVE: Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

  • BIOTECH INNOVATION: Prime Medicine

  • DEAL OF THE YEAR: Nimbus Therapeutics

  • TALENT ACCELERATION: Alexion Pharmaceuticals



  • BOSTON HIGHLIGHT: Droplet Biosciences


About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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