| Cover Story |
November , 2020 | The Health
Finding a work-life balance
Investigational New Drug ( IND ) application . “ We have corresponded with the FDA twice . We are waiting for the approval from the FDA to commence the Phase IV clinical trial .”
The FDA has responded to the second communication to its joint venture by requesting EBI to provide further information on the IND application .
HWGB Biotech will fully fund the clinical trial by investing US $ 1 million and be entitled to 40 per cent of the total net profit as a sponsor of EBI .
( Following this interview , HWGB announced on Oct 28 that it had obtained FDA approval to commence phase IV clinical trials )
“ If this venture is successful , what the company will get is exclusive licence and rights for the production , distribution , marketing , commercialisation and the sale of repurposed vaccine based on the polio vaccine for use in preventing Covid-19 infections in Southeast Asia countries ,” he said .
HWGB Biotech had also submitted research protocol to the Ministry of Health ’ s ( MoH ) National Medical Research Register ( NMRR ) to evaluate the effectiveness of the Oral Polio Vaccine ( OPV ) as preventive protection against Covid-19 .
“ The appointment of China-based XKX is dependent on the successful completion of EBI ’ s clinical trials ,” he explained , adding that XKX has the production facilities to manufacture poliomyelitis vaccines and this would quicken the process of distribution in Southeast Asia .
Management and risks
Acknowledging the impact of Covid-19 on the Group , Lim stressed on the importance of good management .
HWGB ’ s health-related deals
• Entered into a joint venture with US-based E-Mo Biology Inc ( EBI ) for the research and development of vaccines concerning the Covid-19 virus .
• Partnered with Xinkexian ( Beijing ) Biotechnology Co Ltd ( XKX ) to explore the appointment of the latter as a non-exclusive manufacturer to produce vaccines .
• Appointed by China-based diagnostic reagents manufacturer Xiamen AmonMed Biotechnology Co Ltd as its designated overseas sales agent for Covid-19 diagnostic products in Malaysia , Singapore , Indonesia and Thailand .
• Received an authorisation letter from Shenzen-listed In vitro diagnostics manufacturer Wuhan Easydiagnosis Biomedicine Co Ltd to become the distributor of its Covid-19 nucleic acid test kit and
“ Identifying risks is important . Different portfolios have different risks . So , I always tell my management team and investors , the number one thing is to manage the risk .”
Lim himself was involved in identifying the performing and non-performing units and worked on restructuring the Group ’ s corporate management .
“ The main producing unit is the manufacturing unit , and it is the most stable . It even outperformed the forecast last quarter ,” he said .
HWGB , founded by Lim ’ s father Dato ’ Lim Hui Boon , is well-known and established in the manufacturing and trading of wires and cables , moulding power supply cord sets and cable assemblies for electrical and electronic devices and equipment , travel agency and tour-related services .
The group has diversified into the healthcare industry to broaden its income streams .
Moving forward , embracing digitalisation
Lim acknowledged the importance of adapting and embracing digitalisation . The company , as a whole , has started moving towards digitalisation .
“ We encourage the use of digital memos and so on in our business .”
He also emphasised the market was very different now , and online presence was crucial as it was all about digital marketing , especially on social media .
“ It ’ s all in social media such as Instagram , Facebook and even Tik Tok ,” he quipped .
“ We have our website , where you can also subscribe to our online newsletter . We also have Facebook and Instagram pages , as well as a finance app .”
“ Everything is digital , and we need to embrace it . Transformation takes time , but we are moving towards it .” — The Health
nucleic acid extraction reagent in Malaysia .
• Appointed authorised distributor by Shanghai Liangrun Biomedicine Technology Co Ltd for the distribution of its antibody IgM / IgG of novel coronavirus Covid-19 diagnostic kit in Malaysia from May 15 to Dec 31 .
• Received approval to bring in Covid-19 test kits to Sabah for Covid-19 screening .
• Received authorisation from Sansure Biotech Inc to be general distributor to promote and publicise its Covid-19 nucleic acid detection kits and instruments in Malaysia .
• Entered into a product-purchase agreement with Zhejiang Plame Medical Technology Co Ltd , a company duly authorised to handle diagnostic kits in Malaysia .
• Entered a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU ) with Gnosis Laboratories ( M ) Sdn Bhd .
As the main person driving Ho Wah Genting Bhd ’ s ( HWGB ) diversification strategy , Dato ’ Aaron Lim Ooi Hong has been working round the clock for the past six months .
“ I ’ ve spent many hours in conference calls with experts and partners around the world . I ’ m only able to spend about an hour with my family in a day .”
But the 44-year old Managing Director / CEO makes sure he finds the time to keep fit and healthy .
“ Jogging is one of the activities which you can do any time of the day , and so I usually jog every alternate morning in my residential area . I like it early , so I run from 5.30-6.00am .”
With his heavy work commitment recently , he agreed it was not easy to find a balance but stressed that our “ mindset is important to put equal importance on health ”.
When it comes to his leadership style , Lim , who obtained his Bachelor ’ s Degree in Business ( Business Administration ) from RMIT University , Australia , is resultdriven and stresses on good management .
On HWGB ’ s diversification , he said : “ I always tell my team that this is the direction we are going . It ’ s essential to have the team to believe and share enthusiasm in what we are doing moving forward .
“ Before this , I was involved in the mining and smelting business . Whenever I went down to the mine , I saw a lot of hardship .”
He shared that life in the mining area was tough , and there were a lot of things to be learned from the experience .
“ I always keep this experience in mind , and I tell my team and staff to use the past to evaluate yourself , not to have a shadow on you .”
Addressing the impact of Covid-19 on the group ’ s business , Lim is impressed to see some staff going above and beyond their call of duty .
Core principles of management
During this pandemic , Lim discovered what he described as “ forensic assets ” among his staff . “ It means that there are staff who perform beyond the company ’ s expectations .
“ If you ’ re left with 3-10 staff members , you need to work with them . And that ’ s why we are very appreciative of those who can really outperform .” He follows his four core principles of management . “ Firstly , it is adaptability . We have changed our lifestyle continuously in our daily routine and communicating with others ; we somehow need to adapt to these new changes . “ For instance , statistics had shown that before the pandemic , with regards to digital marketing , a lot of money was spent to make specific age-group use the internet . But now , everybody is using the internet as they adapted to the new norm .
“ So , we need to move into it whether we like it or not . If not , we will be affected .” The next principle is relevance . He explained that it was important for a company to be relevant to the situation and as such healthcare was being very relevant to the current situation .
“ If we choose to be ignorant to the current situation , then it will somehow affect us , either in a good or a bad way .”
After relevance is efficiency . Success doesn ’ t strike as soon as you step into the industry , he said .
“ We need to work hard and push for efficiency . I ’ ve identified what I call the forensic assets , who are workers who show outstanding performance with a minimum amount of supervision .
“ I have a team of people who work extraordinarily , especially during the pandemic . As the person in charge , I take note of these forensic assets . His last principle is reborn . “ Moving along with the diversification plan , we will reborn and transform into an established company .
“ We are not there yet but are moving towards it . So , with these four core principles , I always encourage my team this is the direction we are going .”