It is never an easy task for an academic professional to find his niche in the business world, but Prof. Ken K.L. Yung (Chairman & Co-founder, OPER Technology Limited) made it! His world-leading scientific invention, Autologous Neural Stem Cell Harvest (ANSc), has not only made a breakthrough in science, but has also brought him a ticket to get in the commercial circle. The technology will provide hopes for patients with incurable diseases including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
Prof. Yung was born in Hong Kong. His academic path is a vivid proof of his intellect in science but it had never occurred to him that he would become an entrepreneur one day. He finished his Bachelor Degree in Applied Biology in Hong Kong Baptist University, a Master of Philosophy Degree in Neuroscience in the University of Hong Kong and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Neuroscience in the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. After graduation, he returned to Hong Kong to develop his academic career in Hong Kong Baptist University. Having served in HKBU for 20 years, Prof. Yung has published over 100 scientific journal papers with more than 3000 citations, holding over 15 patents and now serving as the Associate Head and Professor in the Department of Biology. His achievement and expertise in the academic sector is undisputed. Moreover, his great contributions in academic research have eventually enabled him to become a successful entrepreneur in technology field.
Prof. Yung and Dr. Cathy Lui are the key inventors of ANSc Harvest. ANSc Harvest is the first ever technology in the world for extracting neural stem cells directly from the brain of live subjects without the sacrifice of life. It also provides a new possibility in using autologous (‘self’) neural stem cells for personalized neurodegenerative disease treatment in the future. By means of ANSc Harvest, patients could use their own ANScs safely harvested from their brain to replace their dying neurons in their brains. This is a unique technology and this has awarded him and his company the ‘Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities’ funding by Innovation and Technology Commission, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2014. With the funding, Prof. Yung and Dr. Cathy Lui founded OPER Technology Limited in November 2014, which is an invaluable platform for them to commercialize and make practical use of their academic research findings. ANSc Harvest is a milestone in Prof. Yung’s career, bridging the gap between his academic career and business career. This is also a body of evidence to show Prof. Yung’s entrepreneurial intuition can recognize the needs of people and help develop technologies through research and making good use of them. Prof. Yung has nurtured many generations of young scientists in the past twenty years and many of them have become young leaders in their own fields including both academia and technology business.
OPER Technology Limited is situated in Hong Kong Science Park. It is a start-up company of Hong Kong Baptist University and a member company of Incu-Bio Program of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. The company is dedicated to provoking revolutionary changes in the practice of precision medicine and regenerative medicine, and bringing new possibilities in the new era of therapeutics on personalized and precision medicine. Four US and one Hong Kong patents have been awarded to the world-leading technologies of OPER Technology. OPER Technology has collaborated with global partners including venture capitals, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research and medical institutes in order to apply the ANSc Technology to meet the needs of the patients in the world. Under Prof. Yung’s leadership, within 2 years, OPER Technology has won 17 significant entrepreneurial and technological awards locally and internationally, including the 5th Bank of China (H.K.) FITMI ‘Technology Start-up’ Gold Award (2015), Second Place in the 7th Annual China Healthcare Conference Business Plan Competition (2016) and Gold Medal in Surgery Category in the 44th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (2016).
Prof. Yung is a creative, sociable, open-minded person and a good communicator. He has extremely sensitive and superior awareness to latest development in technology in this rapidly changing world. In terms of service, he has served in Councils of many charity organizations and professional bodies. To name a few, he is currently the Vice President of the Hong Kong Movement Disorder Society and Hong Kong Society of Neuroscience, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Brain Foundation, and Honorary Advisor of the Hong Kong Parkinson’s Disease Association. His great social network reaches many sectors of international and local communities.