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Meet the CEO: An Interview with Advanx Health’s Co-Founder and CEO, Yong Wei Shian

Meet the CEO: An Interview with Advanx Health’s Co-Founder and CEO, Yong Wei Shian

  • Advanx Health is a genetics focused digital health startup founded in 2018
  • Advanx Health combines a data and tech-driven approach with human-centric modal to tackle health challenges using results from your DNA and screening test
  • Advanx Health’s initiatives to help the fight against COVID-19
Find Advanx Health on HealthTech Alpha

Wei Shian is the Co-Founder and CEO of Advanx Health, a Wellness startup primarily focusing on Genomic Related Applications. Founded in 2018,  his company aims to empower society to take charge of their health by utilising one’s genetic make-up to provide personalized recommendations on diet, fitness and lifestyle.

Advanx Health’s journey began when Wei Shian’s open-mindedness led him to research about startups while delving into the technology realm. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Pharmacy, his desire to find out more about technology landed him a job at Fave, where he acquired extensive knowledge of data analytics and business intelligence. He entered his next phase in life as a pharmacist, where he discovered that the general public tends to be unfamiliar with their overall well-being and health condition. After having an epiphany, he set out on his mission to help others understand their body better, by delving deeper on what makes a person uniquely themselves: Genetics. After conducting tireless research in 2017, Advanx Health was eventually birthed as the company wanted to step out of their comfort zone.

Wei Shian embraces his journey for he has overcome obstacles, allowing him to grow as a person. Given the chance to start over, he wouldn’t change a thing. His journey allowed to meet people from all walks of life, leading him to share the best piece of advice he has ever received, which is to fail faster. As accelerated failure leads to one paving the path to success speedily, this advice has impacted him and his leadership at Advanx Health.

The HealthTech industry is growing rapidly given the momentum it garnered during COVID-19. When faced with various challenges amidst this pandemic, Wei Shian makes sure to set time out for himself to have a ‘digital detox’, where he doodles, build LEGOs and play the piano. By allowing him to shift his focus temporarily away from his phone and computer, this has helped in settling his thoughts and keeping his mind clear.

With digital health changing the mindsets of many, Wei Shian noticed a shift in conversations to personalised and preventive care, something that he is passionate in. As genetics rise in popularity due to its potential in the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine, he highlighted that understanding genetics could help one lead a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, he added that during a webinar with sales consultants, he shared that there is a shift in demand for home-testing. With limited exposure to the virus, home-testing followed by virtual consultations is a feasible option and is something that Advanx Health highly advocates as their DNA test kits are home-based as well. After making finishing touches such as checking the yield of the virus of the COVID-19 saliva sample, the launch of this promising home-based testing is highly likely in the third quarter of 2020.

The company’s desire to strive for excellence and improvement is amplified as Wei Shian shared 2 new developments in the DNA test kits. Firstly, existing and new customers are upgraded to a full package (DNA Explorer Prime) with an extensive 121 reports from fitness, health risks and many more. Secondly, with an increasing trend of Malaysian couples going for pre-marital screening, DNA Explorer Carrier was launched for couples to understand what mutations they carry, allowing them to evaluate the risks by consulting a genetic counsellor.

Partnering with Roche Diagnostics is exciting as it will bring more visibility and opportunity to Advanx Health. The prenatal testing brand by Roche, named as Harmony, faces tough competition in Malaysia market due to stiff competition from other competitors. Price competition is one of the main reasons that swayed doctors from Harmony. Realizing this, Roche has looked for a more innovative way to market their products with an emphasis on digital channels. Thus, with the same goal of engaging customers through a new experience, Advanx Health and Roche Diagnostics have come together in this partnership to offer a new way for customers to access prenatal testing.

Partnerships and collaborations in these critical times are key aspects of a resilient organization. Upon joining Galen Growth, he observed that open collaboration, instead of competition, is highly advocated to make the ecosystem flourish. “As Advanx Health was growing, we saw Galen Growth growing as well. Galen Growth is an ecosystem builder where we gather information from. They have gained recognition amongst the pharma industry and being part of the Galen Growth 2020 HealthTech Startups Cohort is a credential.”

During this COVID-19 pandemic, digital health startups are coming up with innovative ideas to win the battle against the silent killer. Advanx Health created a platform ‘Find My Test’, whereby information about private hospitals and clinics from various states are collated and presented on a website to help users locate their nearest COVID-19 testing site. Asymptomatic customers who were unable to visit a government hospital gave satisfactory feedbacks and expressed gratitude for ‘Find My Test’ as they were eventually tested positive.

As the CEO of Advanx Health, he constantly seeks to improve himself as a leader. He shared his top reads such as Good to Great by Jim Collins which taught him great lessons about leadership and management that he later applied when leading his team. Wei Shian emphasised the importance of inclusivity to boost the morale of his teammates in critical times like this. From making information and data more accessible for the team to gather insights, to meeting with interns and giving them directions, measures have been taken by Advanx Health’s HR to ensure the commitment and dedication of the whole company.

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This interview was concluded with Wei Shian mentioning that the pandemic isn’t just a creative destructive moment for the healthcare industry, but for the tech industry as well. With data scientists, developers and healthcare professionals joining forces, the growth of HealthTech will definitely see acceleration. The past 2 years have seen the lack of momentum, resources and talent. However, with the pandemic throwing healthcare systems in uncharted waters, momentum is at an all-time high which is sure to last post-COVID, paving the way for success for HealthTech players.

About the Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort

The Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort is the only acceleration programme built to scale digital health startups to be the next generation powering healthcare innovation in the New Normal in Asia. In 2020, Galen Growth is working with 25 HealthTech startups which will benefit from Galen Growth’s long-established and unmatched curated community of investors, corporate leaders and innovation teams and other essential stakeholders through our proven multi-channel tools. For more information, visit Galen Growth’s HealthTech Cohort webpage or read this article on the launch of the Galen Growth HealthTech Cohort.

For last week’s interview with Dr Sebastian Bhakdi, Founder & CEO of X-ZELL, click here.

For more Meet the CEO exclusive interviews, click here.

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