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[Asian Invitation Seat] "South Korean biological medicine is mixed with both joy and sorrow out of clinic... talent cultivation is the panacea"

2019.11.04

Nine among ten new biological medicine projects fail
It is a reality that success or failure of clinical test influences corporate value
Medicine and biological stock should eradicate illegal short selling


Lim Chong-yoon, Representative of Hanmi Science Corporation and Chairman of Korean Biological Association accepts the interview of Aju Business Daily

"If the ethic, system and economic theories of biomedicine can be integrated, the most appropriate new drugs can be promoted. Just like the global medical corporations, it may improve the "batting average". This requires the educational institutions that cultivate the economy and policy experts in the biomedicine field."

Generally, those managers about to retire will mention "talent cultivation". To our surprise, he, such a young man, should have such ideas. This is not an unrealistic fancy. Instead, he draws the conclusion and makes the concrete plan through long-term careful thinking. Lim Chong-yoon (47 years old), Representative of Hanmi Science Corporation (the holding company of Hanmi Pharm Co., Ltd) and Chairman of Korean Biological Association treats the future long-term development in this way. Recently, the reporter saw Mr. Lim Chong-yoon in his office located at Bangidong, Songpa-gu, Seoul. He emphasized the necessity of talent cultivation in the biomedicine industry and said: "One of the successful factors for China to catch up with developed countries in the innovation field is school."

Without talent cultivation, it is difficult to ensure the future of the biomedicine industry in South Korea. He also worries about the over-popularity of the biomedicine market in South Korea. He compares the candidate materials of new drugs as project financing and reminds the reality that success or failure of clinical test influences corporate value. For the fluctuating medicine and biology stock market, he said "they had already turned into the amusement parks with improper short selling", and appealed that short selling should be prohibited.

[Dialogue with Lee Jeong-il, the 4th Minister of Industry Ministry; arrangement = Park Hye-jeongReporter]

­ At present, the expectations and worries about the biomedicine market are mixed. As the Chairman of Korean Biological Association, what do you think of this?

I think there is a huge potential, but I also feel the necessity of innovation. South Korea is a biomedicine power, with a large number of innovative enterprises that carry out cooperation, permission, research and production overseas. In terms of R&D, new drug license and clinical test, it has the similar institutional "language" with that of developed countries. It should cope with the tendency and take the lead with researches of innovative modes, justice and morality as weapons. There are various fields to be expanded, such as digital medicine, nursing of pregnant women, health care environment and life design based on health care. Enterprises with abilities should positively face the challenges.

­ Many criticisms point out the suspicious enterprise cases in terms of clinical test and new drug development ability, thus triggering the distrust of the market.

I think it is the contents (announcements) widely released by enterprises and the exaggerating media diffusion effect that foster the market distrust. Every time when there is the hot spot that signs the large-sized contract or terminates the contract worldwide, the stock price of enterprises will fluctuate with it. During this period, the speculation of aiming at short-term balance also prevails. To regard the candidate material of new drug as the project, invest in it and regain the investment fund is similar to the earliest PF appearing from 1980 - 1990. The academic meetings or business promotion activities become the transaction market. There are also "scientist entrepreneurs" that strategically adjust the investment time and leave right away after getting it. Therefore, the stock price of venture capital of biomedicine will be distorted out of the message of new drug projects. It is the same with medicine shares like Hanmi. Enterprises should have obtained investment to lead the innovation industry, but face financing burdens, which is quite worrying.

Without talent, it cannot ensure "the future of the South Korea biomedicine"
Discuss with Pohang University of Science and Technology in Pohang to set up the innovation school
Plan to cultivate the economy and policy experts in the biomedicine field

­ You appeal to the prohibition of short selling for the same reason?

The biomedicine industry has already become the terrible amusement park for forces of improper short selling. The pros hold that short selling is favorable to market liquidity, with the effect of virtuous cycle. But Europe has many restraints. It should be reviewed one day before short selling, but South Korea lacks such restrictive measures. For the sake of the growth and development of the biomedicine industry, short selling should be prohibited; investigation and punishment should be done to forces of improper short selling. Short selling should be firstly prohibited to see whether the market will shrink. Then it is not late to make the actual judgment.

­ The South Korean biomedicine industry shrinks out of the message of clinical test failure.

In view of the characteristics of the biomedicine industry, it is quite natural that 9 among ten new drug projects fail. This is not merely our problem. Global medical corporations have over 200, and even 300 - 350 new drug candidate material projects every year, one of which will fail in clinical test every day in terms of probability. Clinical test is merely one of the indexes that measure how much value one company can create in the future five years. If the clinical test of obesity therapeutic agent fails, it is the failure of the project department. On the contrary, even if the clinical test succeeds, it is not the end. What is important is to promote products after getting the permission and create the sales volume. Only when the useful technologies, the staff that realize the technologies and the necessity of commercialization in market stay the same can it gain sustainable development.

­ Compared with developed countries, what's the level of South Korean biomedicine?

Through calm evaluation, the value of new drug candidate projects of Hanmi and South Korean biological medicine is similar to that in Japan around 10 to 15 years ago. The sales volume and total market value of Japanese top medicine companies is 30 trillion South Korean Won. The total market value of the innovative biomedicine industry in NASDAQ also maintains the 30 trillion South Korean Won. However, in South Korea, the research companies with the venture capital scale and the companies that produce single products with the global scale are at the position. Some people proposed the theory of foam of South Korean biomedicine perhaps out of the evaluation of factors in this regard.

­ What efforts should be made in order to catch up with developed countries?

The most important element is still man. It especially requires economic and political experts of the biomedicine industry, so it plans to set up professional schools. At present, it is discussing about establishing the small-sized innovation schools of biological health care along with the research groups of Pohang and Pohang University of Science and Technology. It may formulate courses or establish the independent educational institutions (professional graduate schools). Courses are no longer about mere development of biological new medicine; instead, the courses will be concentrated in the humanities field, such as ethics, system, law, health care system and economic theory. For example, according to the limited health insurance finance and policy priority of the government, if they develop the drugs with pertinent design, they may make all-round judgments in terms of industry and policy. In addition, they may also accumulate quality data for new drug development -- papers.

­ What's the blueprint depicted by Hanmi in the biomedicine industry?

Two or three years ago, when the affiliated enterprise COREE of Hanmi Science Corporation made researches with the theme of Biobank, it discussed with experts of hospitals from different countries about what to do in the upper stage of drug treatment. And the final conclusion is definitive therapy. The prospect of developing itself as an "all-round health care group" and helping with the pertinent health management also starts from here. The current drug represents the average level of treatment, which will have greater values in pertinent treatment. In addition, patients not only require drugs, but also need to improve the mixed treatment of the treatment efficiency through all-round nursing. It includes studying the disease source and finding the preventive methods throughout all the stages from treatment to health recovery. Hanmi Science Corporation focuses on medical consultation, while COREE Group focuses on the pertinent health management, prevention and treatment.

­ Hanmi Science Corporation claims itself to be a holding company with initiative, so what's its role?

Compared with investment, the holding company should target at control. The operation purpose of Hanmi Science Corporation is to develop the mixed holding company or the management holding company parallel with its cause. It does not improve the sales volume merely through the brand patent expense of affiliated enterprises, but pursues the new cause development of initiative. Hanmi Pharm. focuses on the medicine field, while Hanmi Science Corporation regards its expansion and in-depth as the development objective. For example, it is preparing for the subjects of the biomedicine industry, which is a new cause about medical consultation and health care service.