SK Chairman Chey Tae-won's 27-year perseverance management of the bio industry has borne fruit as the country's first independent drug development.
SK Biopharm announced on Nov. 22 that its new drug "XCOPRI" has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for partial seizures for adults.
XCOPRI is a new drug to treat seizures that SK Biopharm has independently carried out, ranging from searching for candidate materials in 2001 to clinical trials and applying for FDA approval last year.
SK Life Sciences, a U.S. company, is in charge of marketing and sales and is aiming to launch it in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2020.
New drug development usually costs more than 10 to 15 years and hundreds of billions of won. Industry consensus is that despite such efforts, only one or two of the 5,000 to 10,000 candidate materials can be successful to be developed as new drugs.
For this reason, research expertise is fundamental and it is impossible if management's unwavering will to nurture the research is not based. Industry watchers say that XCOPRI could not see the light without Chey's firmness and investment philosophy.
In 2016, Chey visited SK Biopharm Bioscience Institute in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, to comment on the importance of developing new drugs and long-term investments.
"Since we tried to develop new drugs in 1993, we have experienced failure, but we have been growing with innovation, courage and passion for more than 20 years," said Chairman Chey at the time. "We have steadily invested in the long term because we expected many difficulties from the start. Let's achieve our dream of developing innovative new drugs." The success of the new drug was achieved in three years after his remarks.
In 2002, Chey presented his long-term goal of establishing bio business as one of the group's central pillars after 2030 through steady development of bio projects.