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Chen Chunlin, an explorer of global CRO industry

(sh-italent.com)Updated : 2017-04-12

Shanghai Medicilon Inc, founded in 2004 in Pudong New Area, has been recognized as one of the top drug discovery contract research organizations (CRO) in China. The organization is managed by a team of scientists with a wealth of experience in US-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Chen Chunlin is the team leader. Formally a staff investigator for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Chen is a pioneer in China’s pharmaceutical industry with extensive experience in academia and regulatory evaluation. He received his PhD from Oklahoma State University and completed postdoctoral training in the United States.


Chen is a postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and has held numerous leadership positions in professional scientific trade organizations in China as well as other parts of the world. His achievements are underlined by having been awarded the national “Thousand Talent Plan”.

With professional insight and great ambition, Chen quit his job in the US and started up his own CRO business in Pudong’s Zhangjiang in 2003.

“The reasoning behind founding Medicilon was very simple, the decision was based on the developing nature of the Chinese economy and the fact the CRO industry in China barely existed,” said Chen.

“Of course, I also want to make contribution to my home country,” he added.

After 14 years of development, Medicilon now boasts a 30,000-square-meter R&D lab with advanced equipment. It has been listed as new drug R&D and bio-technical service platform by the local government. The company has been providing integrated drug discovery and development services for more than 1,000 clients across the world, including global pharmaceutical giants Roche, Millennium and Sunovion.


As CEO of the company, Chen believes talented people are the key point to the company’s future development.

“Talent mobility is important for the CRO industrial development,” he said and so far, Medicilon has nearly 700 employees 50 percent of whom are PhD or master degree holders. A further 15 percent have overseas study or work experience.  

The company has realized its commercial value in both domestic and overseas markets with each accounting for half of the company’s total revenue. Aimed at becoming a leading company in the global CRO industry, Medicilon has devoted itself in the research and development of new drugs and has taken advantage of its transnational background to find overseas cooperation opportunities.

It hopes to join hands with Chinese drug makers to make new China-developed drugs and pharmaceutical research data that will gain an international reputation.