The Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB) is sad to announce the former Managing Director Professor Christopher H.K. Cheng had passed away peacefully at home on July 12, 2021.
Professor Cheng joined HKIB in 2006, first served as the Associate Director, then assumed the position of Managing Director in 2011 until 2020. During his tenure at HKIB, Professor Cheng was active in promoting translational research in biologics drugs and modernization of Proprietary Chinese Medicine (pCm), including successfully facilitated the collaboration between Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (HKJCT) and Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) to expand HKIB’s scope of Manufacturing and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) licences for pCm products, serving both academic and local Chinese medicine industry in research, product development and manufacturing. In addition, as a devoted educator, he further widened GMP training and consultation capacities by aligning Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) resources and forming alliances with the Hong Kong Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (HKPMA) and international partners. These steps enabled the Hong Kong pharmaceutical manufacturers to achieve the international GMP certification under the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S) in 2016. Before his retirement from HKIB, he was driven to integrate the competencies of the growing biotech industry in Hong Kong and helped set the foundation for the future GMP Facility for Advanced Therapy Products at HKIB.
Professor Cheng’s contribution to the Hong Kong biotechnology sector extended beyond HKIB. He was a founding member and a former Executive Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Biotechnology Organization (HKBIO), a major biotechnology platform in Asia Pacific. Throughout the years, he worked closely with HKBIO in promoting Hong Kong’s biotechnology industry globally. Furthermore, Professor Cheng also represented HKIB as key contributors in HKPMA, Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Industry Association (HKCMIA), Chinese Medicines Industry Subcommittee (CMISC), and Genetically Modified Organisms (Control of Release) Expert Group under Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department of the HKSAR.
Born in Hong Kong, Professor Cheng was a CUHK graduate. Having obtained his B.Sc. degree (First Class Honours) in Biochemistry in 1976, he subsequently pursued graduate studies at University College London as a Shell Scholar, obtaining his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry in 1980. Professor Cheng then moved to University of California at San Francisco to work under the mentorship of the late Professor Choh Hao Li. He returned to Hong Kong to join the faculty at CUHK in 1981. Throughout his academic career, Professor Cheng had close collaboration with scientists from Mainland China. In 2009, he received the prestigious State Natural Science Award (Second Class), in recognition of his contribution to the project “Composition analysis of certain medicinally important plants”. He had served as Visiting Professor in a number of Universities in Mainland China, including Zhejiang University, Sun Yat-sen University and Southwest University. Upon establishment of the School of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine in CUHK in 2009, Professor Cheng was appointed as the founding Chief of Reproduction, Development & Endocrinology Theme in the School.
Memorial service to celebrate Professor Cheng’s life will be arranged by his family. Details to follow.
HKIB Board Chairman Professor Wai-Yee Chan
HKIB Managing Director Dr. Gina Jiang