Ngiam Mia Je Patrick, Chairman and Co-Founder, Essex Bio-Technology
Over the years, biopharmaceuticals have brought unquestionable improvement to patient care. It is transforming the world of medicine while saving the lives of thousands of people every day. Patients with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immunological illnesses, and other diseases benefit from biopharmaceuticals – which enable targeted treatment with fewer side effects. This novel approach to disease treatment will soon benefit billions of people all around the world. But to make this happen, the industry needs efficient leaders who are creative, more adept at applying new and emerging technologies, and comfortable pushing complex boundaries. Those ardent leaders should have a clear vision and risk-taking ability along with scientific knowledge and a knack to turn inspiration into innovation to discover new medicines that improve and save lives. One such exemplary leader who is on a mission to pilot this transformation in disease treatment, backed up by his extensive experience and business acumen is Ngiam Mia Je Patrick, the Chairman, and co-founder of Essex Bio-Technology.
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, and raised and educated in Malaysia and Singapore, Mr. Patrick Ngiam is a Singaporean, an acknowledged entrepreneur and a proud father of three. After graduating in Electronics Engineering with first-class honors in 1979, Patrick worked for many leading organizations. But it was his drive to lead his own destiny and contribute to the betterment of society that propelled him to follow the path of entrepreneurship. The avid leader believes that entrepreneurship must be a vested attribute in any leadership position whether it is being hired or self-employed. “My aspiration was to lead my own destiny in the career development cycle and render good cause to the society at large. It was with that in mind I left my R&D job at Philips in 1980 and started by venturing into IT business and subsequently into Biotech,” asserts Mr.Ngiam.
A Fascinating Journey with Essex Bio
Under the influential leadership of Mr.Ngiam, today Essex Bio-Technology stands tall as a prominent biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and commercializes genetically engineered therapeutic rb-bFGF (FGF-2), having six commercialized biologics marketed in China. The products of the Company are principally prescribed for the treatment of wound healing and diseases in Ophthalmology & Dermatology. The company was incubated in the 90s by a handful of researchers, Mr. Hai Zhou Fang, who is one of the founding members and is still with the company as MD of the Group, in China with an aspiration to turn sciences into pharmaceutical products for the unmet solutions. Thereafter, Mr. Ngiam joined the team and funded the development from the onset and has been leading the company from the humble start with no commercialized products to record revenue of approximately HK$ 1.64 billion in FY 21 and a record profit of HK$ 346 million. “This was achieved at the back of a 5-year CAGR of 16% and 20% in revenue and profit respectively.The company has grown from strength to strength to about 1,400 full-time staff,” opines Mr. Patrick Ngiam. To date, the company’s pharmaceutical products, notably its flagship biopharmaceuticals, Beifushu and Beifuji Series are widely prescribed for patients with eye diseases and skin wounds in over 10,500 hospitals nationwide in China.The company’s Beifushu series currently leads the FGF Ophthalmic drug market in China with over 60% market share, while its Beifux in Surgical Gel has been ranked No.1 perscription drug in Dermatology in China since 2020.
Navigating Challenges While Adhering To Corporate DNA
Today, Essex has come a long way since its inception. However, its journey to success was not without challenges. In the early stages of the development, Essex had to face several obstacles starting from getting drugs approved for commercialization to market acceptance. And now, the challenge is centered around the question of sustainability that evolves on Human Capital & Inventing and Reinventing. To overcome those challenges, it was necessary for the company to have the right corporate identity which it calls Corporate DNA, which is built upon 3 key aspects— culture, characteristics, and values. The culture at Essex is driven by the principle of RUB —a sense of Responsibility, sense of Urgency, and sense of Belonging characteristics.
Along with culture, the company also emphasizes on visionary, dynamic, and creative values and focuses on harnessing innovations to deliver unmet drugs for the blessing of people at large. Keeping these values at the cornerstone, the company proactively develops innovative tools and strives to leverage its strengths and experience to help its clients in the best possible way. “The vision of Essex Bio-Technology Limited together with its subsidiaries, the “Essex Group” is to be a great and socially responsible corporation committed to maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct and responsible corporate governance,” adds Mr. Patrick Ngiam.
With 4 research sites globally, the company leverages its in-house R&D expertise and platform in growth factors and antibodies to maintain a pipeline of research projects in various clinical stages, covering a wide range of fields and indications. Its mission is to be a leader in the field of Ophthalmology & Wound Healing and a stakeholder in the field of Oncology.
Achievements Thus Far
Mr. Patrick has been bestowed with many accolades and awards for his achievements over the years. Notably, in 1990, he was awarded the first KPMG Singapore High Tech Entrepreneur Award. Other awards include the DHL & Singapore Press Holdings Business Award for Businessman of the Year in 1994 and the Chevalier DE L’ORDRE NATIONAL DU MERITE conferred by Le President De La Republique Francaise in 1996.Under the aegis of the ardent leader, Essex Bio-Technologyis also witnessing great success in the global market. It was featured in Forbes Asia’s top 200 SMEs in 2014 & 2020 and 100 exchange-traded companies in Forbes China’s “Up-and Comer Up-and-Comers 17 & 2018. For its innovative approaches and top-notch products and services, it has also received multiple prestigious awards including the National Scientific and Technology Progress Award of P.R.C in 2004 and 2018, China Securities Golden Bauhinia Award in 2021, The Best Investment Value Award for Listed Companies, and Zhuhai Red Cross Humanity Award in 2020. All these awards and accolades in the favor of this company prove the relentless work they have been doing to improve lives and profoundly benefit patients with rare diseases and common disorders.
Foreseeing the Future
Guided by the Group’s vision, mission, and Corporate DNA, the company continues to deliver first-in-class and best-in-class drugs through its relentless investments in innovation and quality of services. Over the last few years, the Group has expanded its R&D from China to the USA, the UK, and Singapore. In 2020, it established its HQ in Singapore for expansion into the ASEAN market. In the coming years, it aims to further expand its footprint while pursuing excellence with its value-driven approach. With a clear vision, unwavering determination, and extensive experience, Mr. Patrick Ngiamis taking Essex Bio-Technology to incredible heights while building a legacy for the next generation to look up to.
As a successful leader, Mr.Ngiam’s advice to aspiring and budding entrepreneurs is to lead by example with a clear vision. “A leader is one that would lead by example, with a clear vision, a team player, magnanimous, selfless and self-renewal to remain relevant. You can be ambitious, but be realistic in setting your first goal, only when your first goal is realized would you see the next, the next after the next, and so on. Perseverance is the answer to accomplishments,” affirms Mr.Ngiamon a concluding note.