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Sabrina Khan | Chief Financial Officer | Aptorum Group Limited

Sabrina Khan: An Epitome of Hardwork, Passion and Perseverance

Achieving excellence in any field requires consistent efforts, diligence, and patience. It is a mark of great leaders that they stick to the process and eventually embark on the journey of success. They fight through challenges with hard work and persistence. They attain expertise in their field by learning and developing themselves and help the companies to reach new heights. One such persistent leader is Sabrina Khan.

Let’s shed some light on her journey and how she is spearheading Aptorum’s financial objectives.

Sabrina started her career as an auditor, where she was trained and obtained her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Title. After that, she worked for a few companies as their accounting professional focusing on daily financial operations, IPO, and M&A projects which further helped in building her technical skills and knowledge. She then joined Aptorum Group Limited as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in 2017 and helped Aptorum Group to successfully get listed on Nasdaq in December 2018 and as the first biopharmaceutical company to dual list on Euronext.

Throughout all these days in her career, Sabrina failed countless times, but her personality and attitude helped her a lot in going through all these challenges. She likes to learn new things and take up challenging tasks as she enjoys the process and the satisfaction it brings. She believes that challenges are not beyond our control, and there is always a solution.

Tackling Unmet Medical Needs with Life-Science Innovations

Aptorum Group is a UK-based biopharmaceutical company with a focus on the discovery and development of therapeutic assets for the treatment of a variety of unmet medical needs, including orphan diseases, infection diseases, and metabolic diseases. The group focuses on diseases that are currently largely unmet or do not have effective treatment available. It believes that patients in these disease areas often suffer from the lack of choices of (effective) drugs and are faced with limited therapeutic options available. On this basis, the company’s product objective is simple – ‘to bring effective drugs to these patients and tackle these diseases’.

Aptorum Group has a strong pipeline of candidates under development with 4 core assets showing significant progress:

1) The Rapid Pathogen Identification and Detection Diagnostics (“RPIDD”) technology, a rapid, accurate, cost-effective, and untargeted method to identify and detect existing or emerging unknown pathogens through liquid biopsy. Such unknown pathogens include DNA/RNA-based viruses such as coronavirus, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, fungi, etc.

2) SACT-1, a repurposed drug candidate for treating neuroblastoma discovered through its Smart-ACT® drug discovery Platform.

3) ALS-4, a small drug molecule candidate for the treatment of infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

4) NLS-2, a dietary supplement for the relief of menopausal symptoms.

Making Use of Expertise to Contribute and Save Lives

Sabrina expresses that many people find accounting tedious, and accountants are only to help companies do book-keeping, prepare financial reports, and tax filings. She asserts, “Companies need an accountant to meet certain regulatory requirements, but no one would ever think accountants can help to build their business or even the society.”

After Sabrina left Big 4, she worked for a few healthcare and biopharmaceutical companies and started building her network in the industry. She realized accountants can also make good use of their knowledge and network to help raising capital and connecting companies for joint ventures and other collaboration. This can help provide scientists with sufficient resources to continue their clinical trials and speed up the drug development process. She is happy to be part of the team and make use of her expertise to contribute and save lives.

Strengthening Team to Meet Evolving Needs

Sabrina states that because of COVID, many people are now more health-conscious and have put more emphasis on the study of infectious diseases. One of Aptorum Group’s key development focuses is on infectious disease with the support of the team from the University of Hong Kong, which is very famous in the area globally.

Aptorum Group would like to further strengthen the team as COVID proves that the current pace of medical development is far too slow and cannot meet the current needs.

Contributing to Advancement in Global Medical Development

Talking about the culture, Sabrina mentions that Aptorum is determined to continue developing therapeutic treatments with a novel approach in targeting unmet medical needs and contributing to global medical development. She believes that there is a need to think quickly and cope with the ever-changing environment. She always encourages open discussion and asks her team members to share their views and suggestions. When encountering any difficulties, Sabrina usually guides them to get their answers than providing them a quick solution. She puts, “Getting their answer is the best way to inspire them to think and build their commitment to the team and what they do. I want them to seriously understand why they are doing it that way and what they are doing instead of blindly taking instruction from above.”

Developing Different Innovative Approach

We asked Sabrina about the change she would like to bring to the pharmaceutical industry, to which she says, “I would like to use Aptorum as an example and inspire the industry to work together and develop different innovative and novel approaches in tackling medical needs and stop using antibiotics because abuse use of antibiotics would cause drug resistance and even the manufacturing process would cause environmental pollution.”

Contributing Expertise in Finance

Sabrina would continue to seek different breakthroughs in her life through Aptorum. She wishes to contribute her finance expertise to global medical development.

Sabrina advises budding entrepreneurs in the most concise words, “Everyone, no matter what you do, your background, it’s the attitude that counts. You can do if you believe you can.”