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THE INVESTOR

Bio & Medicine

Hanmi Pharma names new CEOs, pledges fresh efforts for drug development

  • PUBLISHED :March 10, 2017 - 16:18
  • UPDATED :March 10, 2017 - 17:22
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[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s leading drug maker Hanmi Pharmaceutical said March 10 that it has tapped two new chief executive officers, vowing to put its disappointing 2016 results behind it and prioritize development of new drugs.

The board has appointed the company’s two vice presidents, Woo Jong-soo and Gwon Se-chang, as co-CEOs.


(From left) Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s new co-CEOs Woo Jong-soo, Gwon Se-chang and CMO Kim Sun-jin


While Woo will oversee the management division, Gwon will be in charge of the new drug development division.

“The changes were made to regain trust in the global market and actively respond to uncertainties arising from internal and external environments by strengthening our expertise in each sector and promptly making decisions,” the drug maker said.

The new co-CEOs will replace Lee Gwan-Sun who had been in the role since 2010 and will stay at the company as a senior advisor.

Lee’s resignation comes in the middle of his term which expires in 2019 in the aftermath of a series of crises that hit the company last year.

In 2016, the company had to return payments for new drugs that it had licensed out to global partners, including Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi, as they decided to terminate or change the terms of their deals due to patient safety and manufacturing issues.

Hanmi’s loophole in internal compliance system also came under criticism as its employees were indicted with detention for spreading undisclosed information regarding a broken licensing deal and reaping unlawful gains.

The array of incidents took a toll on the firm, dragging down earnings and wiping off its market capitalization.

Rebuilding trust toward the firm is crucial as it seeks to expand its global partnership and foothold.

To improve its drug development, Hanmi also recruited Kim Sun-jin, professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with expertise in urology, oncology and molecular biology, as chief medical officer of the company, it said.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)
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