25 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – SEPTEMBER 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM ROUNDTABLE ALB: How has three years of the COVID19 pandemic revolutionised the pharmaceutical and healthcare field, and what are some of the new challenges and opportunities for the industry and the in-house legal departments? Christy Zhou, senior director, Legal & Compliance and Internal Audit Departments, CanSino Biologics: I would like to answer this question with the development progress of our company and department in the past three years. In 2020, we just had a total of about 400 employees in our company and two legal professionals in the legal department. However, by 2023, we have already had more than 1,500 employees in our company with several subsidiaries and branches globally and have established our mRNA technology platform during this period. With the development of our company, the legal department has grown into the Legal and Compliance Department, which has 14 employees in charge of legal, compliance and intellectual property. From the abovementioned development of our company and the department, we could find that the past three years really brought new opportunities to the whole pharmaceutical industry especially advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, and some technical areas has undergone a rapid development under the epidemic pressure achieving lots of technological breakthroughs and quickly entering the stage of industrialisation and commercialisation. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry, especially biotech enterprises, has their own characteristics and rules of development so when facing these opportunities, such rapid development of the enterprise itself has also brought challenges in all aspects including strategy, operation, management, and so on. With such development of the industry and the company, on the one hand, as the legal management department, we must quickly adapt to the industrialisation and commercialisation of the development of the demand for legal work and such requirement is bound to be a challenge to the personnel, organisational structure, internal management. On the other hand, the development of the industry is also accompanied by continuous improvement of the regulation, which has continuously expanded the scope of legal work and put forward higher requirements for the refinement of legal work. If we could find practical ways and implementation of these two aspects, to expand the traditional boundaries of legal work and improve the quality and efficiency, I think it gives legal work a huge opportunity for development in the long-term perspective. Ethel Yeo, general counsel, Parkway Pantai: During COVID, pharma and healthcare services were essential services that were required to continue operating under very restrictive and ever-changing regulatory and physical landscape. One key challenge was securing medical supply chain in all stages of production, ensuring supplies arrive timely, from production to laboratories to end users in hospitals. While supply chain across all industries is impacted, for pharma and healthcare, it was all the more critical. We have taken this opportunity to explore digitalisation in sourcing and supply chain stock-taking to ensure accuracy in usage vs. needs. This promotes efficiency and reduces wastage in the face of rising or unpredictable costs of medical supplies. It has also prompted healthcare service providers to explore upstream investments. What this means for the legal team is how to lock in potential partners quickly with efficient supply chain/distribution agreements, digitalisation platform agreements and so on, to potentially reallocate rights and obligations Christy Zhou Ethel Yeo Jisun Nam