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HistoBlast: China Edition April 2020

Our team has returned to our laboratory in Jining, China to resume operational set-up.

We continue to make great progress with our laboratory in China and we are pleased to share this video update with you.

Back to Work in China

On March 30, our Chinese team returned back to the building to resume their set-up of our facility in Jining, China. This is a very meaningful date for us, our first laboratory in our global network to return to non-quarantine working condition. Parts of China, e.g., the city of Beijing, remain under quarantine guidelines. Our Beijing employees who are in Jining face a 2-week quarantine if they decide to return home to Beijing. We are grateful for their willingness to resume operations and we have provided accommodations for them. Our laboratory will be ready to receive specimens for IHC and flow cytometry testing in June.

A Chat with Dr. Li-Jie Zhang, Medical Director & Pathologist

One such employee is Dr. Zhang. She serves as our Site Head and has been instrumental in setting up our laboratory in Jining.

An Interview with our Medical Director, Dr. Li-Jie Zhang (张立洁)

What is your background in oncology drug development?
I entered the pharmaceutical industry 10 years ago when a central lab set up the first anatomic pathology (AP) department in China. I still clearly remember starting my oncology drug development journey with a breast cancer study, being trained on GCP, accredited by CAP, and then conducting more kinds of tumor studies including BC, NSCLC, GC, CRC, UC, DLBCL, etc. as well as many companion diagnostic studies. The customers were mainly top 30 global pharmaceutical companies with a gradual increasing presence of domestic Chinese companies. The drugs included antibodies and I-O therapies.

Why did you decide to join HistoGeneX Caprion?
When I met Christopher Ung (CBO, General Manager China) and he introduced HistoGeneX (HGX) to me, I was excited to know HGX planned to set up an AP lab in China since I had known of them for some years. I had sometimes served on the same studies as HGX and I was deeply impressed by their expertise. I also was attracted by their great and advanced platforms introduced on their website. When Mark Kockx (CSO, CMO) mentioned this was a pathologist-driven company, I knew I had to come on board.

Since you are from Beijing, how do you feel about working in Jining?
We get strong support from the local government since they want to greatly develop bioscience in Jining. I love our new lab in Jining very much because we built it by injecting all our experiences and lessons. Jining is between Beijing and Shanghai, so it’s easy for the customers to visit / audit. As the hometown of Confucius, the people here are enthusiastic, polite and honest. Compared with living in Beijing, life in Jining is more convenient, especially because the city traffic is much less. The climate is better as well - not very cold or hot, not very dry.

Tell us about your team that you are building. What makes you excited about them?
We search for colleagues with the same values as ours: willing to help patients, willing to cooperate with each other, take responsibility, and face challenges. We are delighted that we have set up an excellent team covering multiple lab functions, project managers, business development, IT, facilities, Human Resources, and Environmental Health & Safety. Each person comes with 5-20 years professional experience. Some have already been trained in Belgium. We continue to recruit for more positions. During the COVID-19 outbreak, I was very proud of their performance and they proved themselves. Among many examples, a local colleague insisted on working alone in the building for one month to maintain the workplace and ensure all the ordered equipment and materials could be well-delivered. When we returned back to the lab on Mar 30, we could start work immediately.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next 2-3 years?
I look forward to providing top-quality biomarker services to our clients. We will be installing additional platforms like flow cytometry, genomic technologies, and mass spectrometry. Some of these are quite novel and we are proud that these are coming to our Chinese lab. We hope to prove that we are a stable, innovative, and responsive laboratory to our clients and are really looking forward to very productive collaborations. We are building a world-class team to achieve this.

Michelle Li and Li-Jie training in Belgium

Training for Our Chinese Colleagues

An important behind-the-scenes activity is our training program for our Chinese team. In addition to a well-trained team, we know that global standardization of procedures and practices is important to you. We accomplish this by investing in a thorough training program for our new employees at our international locations. These are typically 2- to 4-week stints where they undergo multi-department rigorous training. Almost all our laboratory team members have been trained for IHC at our laboratory in Antwerp, Belgium. Due to the outbreak, we currently take recourse to live and pre-recorded video training for flow cytometry and additional IHC training and will resume physical travel when it is safe to do so. Our trainers were very impressed with our Chinese colleagues. Similarly, our Chinese colleagues were very pleased with the training. These are some of their comments:

"My first impression is that everyone at HGX is very professional and knows what they do. The trainings were presented very clearly and professionally."

"For the Project Management team specifically, their strong scientific/medical background differentiates us from our competitors."

"Cross-function training is also a unique method at HGX. It provides professional and technical knowledge, which enables us to deliver the study with high quality and also makes the communication easier, internally and externally."

"HGX’s wide-ranging menu of biomarker testing on different platforms and assay development capability are most impressive."

We are now registered on the HGRAC Platform

HGX China has been successfully registered on the HGRAC platform. When submitting an online submission of HGRAC, you will now be able to find HistoGeneX Caprion listed as a lab vendor.

Assay Transfers for IHC and Flow Cytometry

For both IHC and Flow Cytometry, we are validating an initial list of commonly used tests. However, we are not restricted to these assays. We are able to conduct an SOP-guided assay transfer for assays that have already been validated. This applies to both IHC and flow cytometry assays. This transfer will typically take 4-6 weeks assuming the platforms and reagents are available. For assays that require development and validation, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will have a discussion to understand your validation and timing needs.

For IHC, we will have the Ventana BenchMark ULTRA, Ventana DISCOVERY ULTRA, and Dako Autostainer platforms. For flow cytometry, we will initially provide assays on the BD Lyric platform.

"Congratulations for achieving this milestone. I expect that HistoGeneX Caprion China will be one of the highly competitive companies with great capabilities in the near future."
-Scientific Researcher & Lab Manager, Oncology Biomarker Development (Pharma)

For May 2020

In our next issue, we will provide the latest on:

  • Personnel, equipment, and processes
  • Biomarker menu
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genomics
  • Further interviews with our Chinese team


Where can I find previous HistoBlasts? Find them here.

Who are some of the people in the Jining lab? We introduced some of our team here.

Do you have a capabilities presentation for Jining? Here is an informational presentation of our Chinese laboratory.

What biomarkers have been validated at HistoGeneX? Our biomarker assays can be found here. This is not an exhaustive list. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm the availability of your assay.

For a conversation about our laboratory, please contact your project manager, business development executive, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can send in additional questions This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..