Skip to content
Trailblazers This Biotechnology CEO is Using Advanced Technology to Find Cures For Debilitating Diseases

This Biotechnology CEO is Using Advanced Technology to Find Cures For Debilitating Diseases

This Biotechnology CEO is Using Advanced Technology to Find Cures For Debilitating Diseases
By Karen Tee
October 07, 2020

In Partnership With

Franklin Templeton
In a three-part series presented by Franklin Templeton, entrepreneurs from the Gen.T community share their insights on the rising industry trends they believe in. Here, Jeffrey Lu of Engine Biosciences discusses how his company is advancing global healthcare with cutting-edge technology

Rapid digitalisation throughout the globe, spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic, is sparking a race among the most forward-looking businesses to innovate and disrupt the way humans live and create new possibilities for the greater good. At Franklin Templeton, its experts are committed to pursuing investment excellence for their clients by identifying and investing in companies that have the potential to make a difference in the world we live in.

The global investment firm celebrates 30 years in Singapore this year. It has grown its presence from a research office in 1990 into the Asia headquarters of one of the largest asset management firms in the world. 

An innovative approach to asset management continues to guide the firm’s investment philosophy. It has funds that invest in companies driving innovation and digital transformation in industries such as biotechnology, digital disruption and technology which the three entrepreneurs from our Gen.T community highlighted by Franklin Templeton individually represent. Disruptors Jeffrey Lu, Christel Quek and John Cheng, who are at the forefront of their respective fields, share their insights on the rising industry trends they believe in and how they are working to address some of today’s most pressing issues.

In this first part of a three-part series, we speak to Jeffrey Lu about how his company Engine Biosciences is using technology to unlock drug discovery. 

Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

Advancing Global Healthcare With Cutting-Edge Technology

The race to find a cure for Covid-19 has dominated headlines this year, but this does not mean research to find treatments for other diseases should be halted or slowed down.

“It is tragic that Covid-19 has claimed nearly one million lives globally in 2020. Yet it’s also important to remember that this, unfortunately, pales in comparison to the lives claimed by other diseases,” says Lu, who is the co-founder and CEO of Engine Biosciences. His biotechnology company uses advanced technologies such as gene editing, data science and machine learning to accelerate the discovery of efficient therapies for cancers and other diseases.

“We need to be steadfast and committed to R&D for all debilitating diseases,” he urges. “The timelines to generate new treatments and diagnostics are measured in decades and would be adversely impacted if we pivot away too much, at great cost to humanity.”

So far, Engine Biosciences has achieved promising developments in the high-tech platform’s application in multiple types of cancer, neurodegenerative disease, dermatology and infectious diseases. This, of course, includes the coronavirus.

“By virtue of Engine’s broadly applicable technology platform for precision medicine and drug discovery, we can do quite a bit to enable better therapies and predict patient responses to drugs for Covid-19,” says Lu. The company is currently in confidential discussions with multiple groups regarding this.

The timelines to generate new treatments and diagnostics are measured in decades and would be adversely impacted if we pivot away too much, at great cost to humanity.

Jeffrey Lu

The company has also established the world’s largest datasets and knowledge base on an area of precision cancer medicines called synthetic lethality, totalling more than 80 billion data points and tens of thousands of experimentally validated disease-driving gene combinations. 

With a growing maturation in the research ecosystem in Asia and a significant increase in interest in Asian biotechnology and healthcare, more breakthroughs can be expected in the near future. “Asia comprises half of the world’s population, with different genetics and disease profiles, so precision medicine will necessarily have unique aspects,” says Lu. “The biotechnology industry has never been more vibrant, diverse, and well-positioned to deliver impact.”

Invest In The Future Of Healthcare

Franklin Biotechnology Discovery Fund

The single industry-focused fund invests in companies and research firms that specialise in emerging pharmaceuticals, medical technology and life science tools. Launched in 2000, it seeks potential growth from the biotechnology sector, driven by new drug innovations and long-term healthcare demand from trends such as an aging population.

For more information on Franklin Templeton's investment philosophy and its funds, visit

This advertisement or publication has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The Fund is a sub-fund of Franklin Templeton Investment Funds ("FTIF"), a Luxembourg registered SICAV.
This document is for information only and does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation and was prepared without regard to the specific objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person who may receive it. Any research and analysis contained in this document has been procured by Franklin Templeton for its own purposes and may be acted upon in that connection and, as such, is provided to you incidentally. Although information has been obtained from sources that Franklin Templeton believes to be reliable, no guarantee can be given as to its accuracy and such information may be incomplete or condensed and may be subject to change at any time without notice. Any views expressed are the views of the fund manager as of the date of this document and do not constitute investment advice. The underlying assumptions and these views are subject to change based on market and other conditions and may differ from other portfolio managers or of the firm as a whole. There is no assurance that any prediction, projection or forecast on the economy, stock market, bond market or the economic trends of the markets will be realized. Franklin Templeton accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or indirect consequential loss arising from the use of any information, opinion or estimate herein.
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount that you invested. Investors may wish to seek advice from a financial adviser before making a commitment to invest in shares of the Fund. In the event an investor chooses not to seek advice from a financial adviser, he/she should consider whether the Fund is suitable for him/her.
Issued by Templeton Asset Management Ltd. Registration Number (UEN) 199205211E.


Trailblazers innovation biotechnology healthcare franklin templeton trends entrepreneurship investment


In order to provide you with the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. For more information, please refer to our Privacy Policy.