Reflecting on FII Asia – Megatrends shaping Humanity

To bring 2023 to a close, I headed to Hong Kong to attend FII Institute’s PRIORITY Asia Summit, where global leaders discussed the megatrends shaping humanity.

Here are a few of my highlights:

Who Should the World Prioritise?


The world has just been through a global experiment in who we prioritise – a test of how equitably we look after each other regardless of race or resources. That test was called covid 19.  We didn’t ace the test, to put it mildly. In the middle of Covid I spoke to a nurse who was running a health clinic in the slums of Nairobi. It was a moment when children in the rich world – who weren’t all that vulnerable – were getting second doses of vaccine before our nurse or any other health professionals in Africa had received a first dose. Not only was this unconscionable, it was stupid public health policy. It still breaks my heart to remember her saying to me, “our lives matter too!!” How do we make sure that that sort of inequity never happens again?

I asked Lady Roslyn Morauta (Chair of the Global Fund) and Nomzamo Mbatha (Actor, Humanitarian & UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador) their views. Lady Roslyn argued that if we were really bold we would agree as a world to defeat HIV, TB and malaria and spend far more on global public health. She called on companies and governments to make a lasting impact by investing in global health.

And why should the rich world care? We are living through one of the greatest waves of migration in human history. Millions are being dislocated by climate change, war and poverty. Millions more are choosing to move by the lure of opportunities they believe are available to them in the rich world.

How do we make sure this mass migration of humanity is an opportunity for better lives? Challenging the narrative that human migration is a “human deficit”, Nomzamo advocates for amplifying refugee voices worldwide, shifting the narrative from one of despair to one rooted in hope and resilience.

Who can propel global longevity?


We are living in such a fascinating moment. Innovations that a few years ago were the stuff of sci-fi are now becoming accessible – for those with access and resources. I spoke with two investors at the heart of the longevity revolution.

Founder of Luma Group, Josh Fink believes it is better to focus on ‘healthspan’ rather than ‘lifespan’ and was particularly interested in regenerative medicine. Josh believes this area has the potential to completely transform therapeutics over the next decade, as we explore new possibilities for understanding disease, drug development, and creating patient-specific therapies.

Nisa Leung (Managing Partner, Qiming Venture Partners) compares longevity between rich and poor countries and identifies ways to prevent and treat both infectious and chronic diseases worldwide. Calling for a shift in focus if we are to make longevity available to all, Nisa advocates (and invests in) developing drugs and diagnostics in China because of higher efficiency and lower development and production costs.

How to upgrade the human-tech interface


We turned to another vital medical topic – the burgeoning borderland between people and biotechnology. New treatments are being unlocked at an extraordinary pace. But can we afford to make them widely available? Is democratising medicine compatible with personalising it? How will AI revolutionise the way we develop treatments and treat patients?

We had with us Irene Hong who covers healthcare for leading investment bank CEC Capital Group, Dr. Liping Liu a chemist who looks at the discovery and development of drugs that deal with metabolic disease such as obesity and diabetes and Ivanna Salehudin who works with neutraceuticals

Irene Hong (Founding Partner, CEC Capital Group) believes opportunities within biotech are limitless, having been at the forefront of the technology transfer project in China for a recombinant Hepatitis B vaccine. Irene is interested in investing in technology that can make personalised medicine more affordable and accessible to all.

Dr. Liping Liu (Founder & CEO, HighTide Therapeutics, Inc.) finds opportunities within the holistic sphere, exploring the how biotech and information tech together with the fusion of east and west medicines to understand how to treat patients holistically. Ivanna Salehudin (Data Salehudin, Founder & Chief Executive, Samoedra Pty Ltd) sits within nutraceuticals and is driven by an issue neglected worldwide, post-partum wellness. AI is presenting a series of opportunities in medical approaches and Ivanna is utilising the efficiencies brought by AI to sort through clinical studies and finding new ingredients and botanicals and tailoring it). Irene Hong and Ivanna Salehudin discussed how AI is playing a role in accelerating the emergence of developments like more embedded and personalised medicine and how these trends seek to ensure more equitable access worldwide. Ivanna discussed the importance of AI in minimising costs and increasing efficiencies in the product development of supplement ingredients. Utilising AI in the marketing of these supplements.

Where are the next-gen breakthroughs in medtech?



Professor Adah Almutairi and Dr. Frank Cordasco human longevity in public health.

Recognising AI’s pivotal role in medicine, Adah highlighted AI’s use in analysing big data for translational medicine, genetic disorders, and gene editing therapies. Meanwhile, Frank discussed AI in orthopaedics, including VR training for surgeries and improving accuracy in the operating room.