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Article Published November 6, 2019

Lee’s Spark for Innovation in Pharmacology Contributes to North Haven Community

By By Elizabeth Reinhart

When King Lee was an undergraduate student in premedical sciences at Eastern Kentucky University, he couldn’t wait to leave that state’s rural farmland to return to the hustle and bustle of his native city, Hong Kong.

Lured by the charms of Kentucky’s country life and his future wife, however, King decided to stay in the United States, pursuing graduate studies that included his Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Kentucky.

As a student, King traveled to many different parts of the United States.

“I took my first trip to New York City,” King remembers. “It is more like Hong Kong than Kentucky, so I did not have much culture shock. Then, I went to Chicago, Los Angeles, and parts of California.”

After graduation, a job offer brought King to Connecticut. The public school system brought the family to North Haven.

“I was impressed with the high school at the time,” King says.

As part of his research in finding a school that would educate three of his four children, King checked the statistics on high school graduation rates and whether students would continue on to college.

“Very impressively in North Haven, the percentage was very high,” King says. “That told me a lot about the school system. There was an emphasis on education, on children. Right away, we knew that we would like to find a place in North Haven.”

Twenty years later, King and his wife continue to call North Haven home.

During that time and to this day, his accomplishments as a doctor in the field of pharmacology have made a difference.

King is currently the vice president of regulatory affairs and quality assurance at CaroGen Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company located in Farmington. In this role, King helps get FDA approval for certain drugs or treatments that can help cure or alleviate the suffering associated with different ailments.

The FDA approval process, which means forging a new path at times, is “very in line with my personal interest,” says King.

An innovative spark drives King in his role as a pharmacologist, meeting deficiencies in current medical practices.

“It is very rewarding,” King says. “I have had a chance to get involved with a number of very top of the line type of products.”

One of his larger projects at CaroGen includes mixing artificial viruses to create super vaccines that could potentially treat infections such as hepatitis B, flu, and Zika virus.

“This type of super vaccine is different from the current types of vaccines, which use the actual viruses that have been [weakened] or killed,” King says. “The advantage of this technology is to be able to manipulate certain parts of the artificial virus so that patient’s immune system can be more effective in getting rid of the infected viruses to cure infection.”

The same technology used to create super vaccines could potentially help develop a vaccine for different types of cancer, according to King.

Some of his recent projects as an independent consultant include working with a pharmaceutical company to develop a treatment for nocturia; clinical studies with Vitamin C to potentially treat patients with pancreatic cancer; a drug administration device that uses a magnet to apply medication to parts of the body that are not easily accessible, such as the inside of the eye; a medical device that can stop severe bleeding; and others.

In addition to his work in the pharmacology industry, King is a part-time adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. Nursing students attending King’s advanced pharmacology class at the university are studying to be nurse practitioners, who can prescribe drugs.

Sharing his knowledge is not something new to King, who started teaching as an adjunct at Eastern Kentucky University.

Although he admits that the application of knowledge in a real-world setting where creativity and new ideas make a difference, he loves “to see young people educating themselves. I can share my knowledge and help them achieve their educational goals,” he says.

King also shares his knowledge as an author and co-author of peer-reviewed scientific journal manuscripts, has authored chapters in various books and is a well-known international speaker on pharmacology.

King was conducting a clinical study on a new drug to treat nocturia (the need to urinate frequently at night) when he was asked to write a book on the condition.

“It’s a very serious health condition that healthcare providers sometimes ignore,” says King.

In August 2019, King published the book Nocturia: Etiology, Pathology, Risk Factors, Treatment and Emerging Therapy, which he co-authored with Jeffrey Weiss.

King’s contributions to pharmacology are numerous, and his presence in North Haven has enriched the community.

“Now that the kids are grown, my wife and I do some traveling and participate in local community activities,” says King.

When he is not volunteering his time with different church activities, he can be found practicing his racquetball swing at the North Haven Health & Racquet.

A final contestant in a recent tournament for the gym, King’s sentiments to losing the final match are much like his approach to traveling as a student.

“I enjoyed every single minute of it,” he says.