About Dr. Sujuan Ba
One of the Top 300 Women Leaders in Global Health
Dr. Sujuan Ba currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) which was co-founded in 1973 by Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi to advance cancer research to find cures for all types of cancer.
At NFCR, Dr. Ba oversees the strategic direction and implementation of NFCR’s scientific funding, global strategic partnership & alliances, public fundraising, and financial planning. Under Dr. Ba’s leadership, NFCR has established a powerful network of cancer researchers in the United States, Europe, and Asia allowing NFCR-funded scientists to work collaboratively across disciplinary, institutional, and geographic boundaries, on a wide array of innovative basic and translational cancer research. Several major and impactful international collaborative programs emerge from this cross-institution collaborative approach.
Dr. Ba played an instrumental role and served as one of the founding members of the executive committee and Co-Chair of the Patient-Focused Research and Advocacy Committee during the planning phase of the GBM-AGILE (Adaptive Global Innovative Learning Environment), a global trial to improve the survival of GBM patients with a global force of over 150 neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, pathologists, imagers, basic and clinical neuro scientists, from academic, industry, and government. GBM-AGILE is a paradigm changing global-scale cancer research platform that enables clinical testing and delivery of new drugs and treatments to GBM patients around the world at an unprecedented pace where every cancer patient counts in the trial design. The learning of AGILE platform could be expanded to other cancer types and ultimately improve outcome for all patients in the future.
In 2017, Dr. Ba co-funded, together with several world renowned leaders in brain cancer research, the Global Coalition for Adaptive Research (GCAR) which leads the approval and global implementation of the master protocol trial of GBM AGILE with a goal of changing the face of future clinical trials to speed up the critical path for new curative therapies. She currently serves as the founding member of the Board of Directors of GCAR.
During 2004-2014, Dr. Ba led the establishment of the Tissue Bank Consortium in Asia (TBCA) and the Joint Tissue Bank Facility at Tianjin Cancer Hospital and Institute to promote best practices for biorepositories and biobanks, and for building international collaboration platforms for tissue-based cancer research. She served for more than 10 years as the Co-Chair of TBCA’s Executive Steering Committee which was consisted of world leaders in cancer research. With the guidance from this Executive Steering Committee, the Joint Tissue Bank Facility and the Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital won the designation as one of the two China National Clinical Research Centers and received major funding as Innovative Platform for Drug Development in Cancer. With these progresses, Tianjin Medical University Cancer Hospital emerged from a local cancer hospital to become one of the five top cancer hospitals in China. Under her stewardship, the project had been proclaimed an exemplary international platform for private, public and government partnership for international collaboration in the fields of cancer biomarkers and therapeutic development. Several major global pharmaceutical companies had been the corporate members for this program. In 2011, NFCR and NCI/Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) co-hosted the US-China Workshop on Developing Common Standards for Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research in Tianjin which more than 200 researchers from US, China and other countries in Asia attended the workshop. A white paper about the discussions and future improvements was issued by OBBR which are used to guide for the SOPs for many tissue banks in Asia.
In 2005, Dr. Ba led the establishment of NFCR’s annual Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, an international prize in recognition of outstanding scientific achievement in the war against cancer. She has served continuously as co-chair of the Prize Selection Committee which consists of leaders in academic and pharmaceutical sectors. The prize has now grown into one of the premier cancer research awards in the world.
In addition to her work at NFCR, Dr. Ba also founded the Asian Fund for Cancer Research (AFCR) in 2006. AFCR is a non-profit organization headquartered in Hong Kong that is committed to investigating the distinct causes of cancer in Asian populations and developing more effective therapies tailored to Asian cancer patients. As a non-paid CEO of AFCR, Dr. Ba provides strategic vision and guidance for AFCR’s collaborative research initiatives and public prevention programs in Hong Kong, Greater China, and throughout Asia. AFCR has now launched BRACE Award (Bridging Research from Academia to Cancer Entrepreneurship Award), aiming to identify and catalyzing the translational process from early-stage discoveries in cancer.
Another one of the earlier highest-profile and significant research programs to emerge from the international collaborative network was the creation of the ScreenSaver-LifeSaver Project. Dr. Ba established a partnership between NFCR, United Devices, Inc., Intel Corporation, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom to launch a distributed computing technology-based application, which sped up the drug screening process by linking together more than 3 million PC users around the world to create the world’s largest supercomputer. This program enabled scientists to perform virtual screenings of 3.5 billion small molecules against some twelve target proteins to identify new anti-cancer drug candidates. The project cut years off the lengthy drug discovery process for many potential cancer therapies. InhibOx, a spin-off company out of the University of Oxford (now the company name changed to Oxford Drug Design Ltd), was established in 2002 out of this initiative to commercialize the technology and drug screening platform. This program was written up as one of the innovations by Shira P. White in her book, New Ideas about New Ideas, Insights on Creativity from the World’s Leading Innovations in 2002. The program was also featured in the book Entrepreneurship: a case study from two viewpoints by Graham Richards and Tony Marchington.
In 2019, Dr. Ba co-founded AIM-HI Accelerator Fund (AIM-HI) and serves as its President and CEO. Spun out of NFCR, AIM-HI is a philanthropy impact investment fund as a new paradigm designed to supercharge the groundbreaking translational research programs and the transformative early-stage oncology startups, to bring new therapies and diagnostic tools to patients, while potentially generating sustainable revenues for future cancer research. More than a dozen oncology startups have been launched with AIM-HI seed investments.
Dr. Ba has served on the Women in Science Committee of CRS (Control Release Society) since 2017. She is also a Member of Springboard’s Life Science Council, a well-connected, highly-respected group of experts across the world of biotech, pharma, medical devices and health IT who invest their “human capital” in Springboard’s pipeline of high-growth, women-led companies. She also served as a Past President (2010-2011) Board of Directors (2006-2013) and is currently a member of the Board of Advisors of the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association–USA (Rockville, MD). She had served on the Membership Committee of the International Union against Cancer (Geneva).
With her leadership and expertise in cancer research communities, Dr. Ba is invited to serve as a member of the Medical Advisory Board of Medelis, Inc. (Fountain Hills, AZ) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Immunicom (San Diego, CA). Dr. Ba is also a member of BayHelix, an invitation-only organization of leaders of Chinese origin in the global life sciences and healthcare community based in San Francisco with regional offices in Shanghai and Beijing.
Dr. Ba received NBC4 Working 4 The Community Award in May 2019 in recognition her outstanding achievement as a scientist, leader, and role model in the STEM universe. Dr. Ba also received the inaugural award from Society for Neuro-Oncology of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association for her outstanding contribution to international cooperation in March 2017. Dr. BA is recognized as one of the “Top 300 Women Leaders in Global Health” by the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in 2015. She was awarded the 2014 Public Service Award from the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association–USA for her long term devotion and distinguished service to the global biopharmaceutical community. In 2011, she was also selected to receive the CRS WOMEN IN SCIENCES award. In 2005, she was also honored with an Outstanding Alumna Award by Peking University.
Prior to joining NFCR, Dr. Ba was the Director of Chiral Chemistry and Fine Chemical Consulting Services at Technology Catalysts International (TCI) where she conducted market research, business evaluation, and competitive intelligence for an international clientele of major chemical and pharmaceutical companies. From 1991-1997, she was a Principal Research Chemist and then Project Manager of Technology Development and Research Planning at Arco Chemical Company (ARCO).
Dr. Ba received her B.S. in radiochemistry from Peking University and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1973 that provides scientists in the lab the funding they need to make game-changing discoveries in cancer treatments, detection, prevention and ultimately, a cure. NFCR has distinguished itself in the cancer research sector by emphasizing long-term, transformative research often overlooked by other major funding sources. With the help of more than 5.2 million individual donors over the last 47 years, NFCR has delivered more than $380 million in funding to public education and cancer research leading to several important, life-saving discoveries.
The AIM-HI Accelerator Fund (AIM-HI) is an independent 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, established with an initial grant from the National Foundation for Cancer Research, with the vision to accelerate the translation of cancer drug discoveries by investing in seed-stage companies. It is a new paradigm through venture philanthropy to fund start-up oncology companies that commercialize innovative laboratory breakthroughs which can potentially save cancer patients’ lives.
Since the inception in 2019, AIM-HI has funded over a dozen innovative oncology startups and also launched the Women's Venture Competition, a first-of-its-kind competition for female-led cancer-focused startups.
Our Portfolio Companies
Only a small percentage of innovations and discoveries ever make it from research labs into commercial ventures. AIM-HI’s venture philanthropy approach helps the scientist-entrepreneurs focus on the technology while partnering with them to provide the necessary business, financial, legal and infrastructure support from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Women's Venture Competition
The AIM-HI Women's Venture Competition, in its third year, is open for women entrepreneurs! The program provides early-stage funding, coaching, and networking opportunities to women-led oncology startups to address unmet medical needs. The winning company will receive a total of $1 million in investment from AIM-HI and co-investors!
The Asian Fund for Cancer Research Limited (AFCR) is committed to funding cancer research, especially those cancers prevalent in Asian populations, and promoting global collaborations for high impact to save the lives of cancer patients. AFCR also provides the public with a wide variety of in-depth, user-friendly cancer prevention information and healthy lifestyle suggestions.
© 2020 Dr. Sujuan Ba, Ph.D.