HONING A FOCUS ON SPECTROMETRY
Xiaobin pursued his PhD in chemistry at Boston University (BU) under the mentorship of Professor Catherine E. Costello.
"Dr. Costello is one of the most distinguished and respected members in the field of mass spectrometry, but more than that, she is an incredible mentor and teacher. She gives high-level guidance and answers questions, but she really encourages you to have the courage to explore independently."
Xiaobin also credits Dr. Costello with guiding him to his expertise area, mass spectrometry — a sensitive technique used to detect, identify and quantify molecules based on their mass and charge ratio. With broad application across a range of fields, including the environment, geology and pharmaceuticals, mass spectrometry can be used to test water quality, measure petroleum composition or determine a protein's structure, function and interactions.
"MASS SPECTROMETRY CAN HELP US BETTER UNDERSTAND THE MOLECULAR MECHANISM OF A DISEASE. WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE, WE CAN THEN BETTER IDENTIFY DRUG TARGETS WITH THE POWER TO TRULY HELP PATIENTS."
When Xiaobin joined Regeneron's Analytical Chemistry team in 2013, he was seeking a challenge. He got one.
Xiaobin's first project was helping to develop the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for REGN2810, a fully human antibody directed to the PD-1 receptor. REGN2810 is being investigated in solid tumors either as monotherapy or in combination with various other treatments to strengthen an effective immune response to tumor antigens. The compound is being developed as part of Regeneron's immuno-oncology collaboration with Sanofi.
"I had no experience leading a drug development program, and we were collaborating with another company, adding to the complexity of the task," Xiaobin recalls, "but my senior leaders, Haibo and Ning, supported me, and we were able to successfully submit the IND in a record seven months."
"IT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF MY CAREER SO FAR — COMING IN NEW TO AN ORGANIZATION, DOING SOMETHING I'D NEVER DONE BEFORE. BUT IT IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS I JOINED REGENERON: TO BE CHALLENGED EVERY DAY."