Issue 14 Ki-Young Sohn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Enzychem Lifesciences, Corp.


JULY 2017






We recognize that Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation is one of the fastest growing biopharmaceutical companies in Korea, and we admire the efficient and proactive expansion. What are the major business philosophies and strategies of Enzychem Lifesciences? How would you distinguish Enzychem Lifesciences from other potential competitors throughout the globe?


Dr. George Merck, who established Merck in the United States, founded the company with the principle that “Medicine is for patients, not for profits.” Our company shares this very philosophy, and believes that it is our obligation to develop medicine for two reasons: to save lives, and to improve human well-being. Enzychem Lifesciences develops new drugs to provide medication to all those who need it around the world. In doing so, our company strives to embody three traits:   “creative,” “unique,” and “independent.” To be creative means to discover new uses from old traditions and apply them with modern technology. Our company began developing a new medicine upon discovering a new compound called EC-18 from deer antler, which has been consumed for as long as 2,000 years by our Korean ancestors. To be unique means to develop and manufacture a new drug, using unprecedented methodologies. Enzychem has uniquely patented technologies to complete this process. Last but not least, to be independent means to build the company’s capabilities in leading the process and utilizing its own resources. To this day, Enzychem is competent in fulfilling the operations of global new drug development and we will continue to successfully lead them until completion.


There are many great biotech companies in the world that are constantly developing new medicine, and hold a stellar record of creating many blockbuster drugs. Our company does not intend to compete with them but rather, we seek synergistic collaboration through EC-18. EC-18 is an immunoregulatory substance which controls and modulates immunoproteins, such as cytokine and chemokine, movements of immunocytes, which are neutrophils and eosinophils, and inflammatory cells. Thus, there is a high probability that it will be used as a combination therapy with existing drugs, most of which function only as inhibitors or activators. Our new drug, which helps control the immune system, will mutually benefit both Enzychem and global biopharmaceutical companies through collaborative programs.



“ As a life sciences corporation, Enzychem sustains the duty of constantly challenging ourselves to fight incurable diseases and work towards a world without illnesses ”


Enzychem Lifesciences has been developing new drug candidates to address the unmet medical needs. The development of EC-18, the world’s first oral medicine to prevent and treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, has been strengthening Enzychem Lifesciences’ global competitiveness. What does ‘globalization’ mean to Enzychem Lifesciences?


We believe every company shares the ultimate goal of bettering society. As a life sciences corporation, Enzychem sustains the duty of constantly challenging ourselves to fight incurable diseases and work towards a world without illnesses, and for that reason, globalization is our priority.


Our company carries an ongoing effort in researching and developing new medicine in compliance with international standards and protocols. Furthermore, we are working closely with top experts in each field around the world in our efforts to achieve this goal.



As an entrepreneur, what would you say are the top three priority assets or skill sets needed to be successful in the global healthcare industry?


As the CEO of Enzychem Lifesciences and an entrepreneur, I practice three things that can be the answer to this question: leadership, scholarship, and stewardship.


Leadership entails the ability to gather and usher various talents into a project with a clear objective. Successful entrepreneurs are able to do this by fostering teamwork, team efforts, and team spirit. Before seeking collaboration with companies outside ours, it’s essential to maintain a harmony amongst the members of Enzychem. This way, both internal and external roles in the development of EC-18 can be interfaced and combined.


Scholarship involves continuous educational research, a necessary step in the development process. Scientific studies in a variety of areas, including medical science, pharmacy, biotechnology, biology, and chemistry, are vital in new medicine developments.


Stewardship is an invaluable entrepreneurial skill, especially in the development of a new, global drug. Projects like this require astronomical investments from outside parties, and therefore entrepreneurs hold the responsibilities of maintaining the value of assets, as well as being transparent to and sustaining trust with stockholders and investors.


One distinguishing quality of the healthcare industry is that changes and innovations require a great amount of time unlike other industry areas, such as fashion and IT, whom can produce new results on an annual basis. A single change in healthcare can take five to ten years, and requires endurance, patience, and the persevering spirit of a marathon runner. I completed the Chosun Ilbo Marathon Tournament in Korea for the last decade, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Doing so was a challenge, but was nonetheless possible with physical strength, pace adjustment, and the never-give-up mentality. The necessary capacities for running a marathon and developing new medicine is the same in the sense that milestone management, endurance, and patience are all imperative for success.



“ It is our mission to develop the safest and most economical form of EC-18 to treat various immune disorders ”


Chairman Sohn, you have been recognized as one of the most successful CEOs in Korea’s pharmaceutical industry, according to Power Korea. As the chairman of Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation, what are some of the major performances and outcomes the company has accomplished under your leadership? What are the long-term goals and visions you hope to see the company achieve?


Based on two decades of EC-18 substance and efficacy research by Professor Sang-Hee Kim, a hematological tumor specialist in Seoul Asan Medical Center, our company conducted six years of further research on the compound. As a result, our company is able to successfully mass produce EC18. We’ve also completed construction of a GMP factory that will accommodate this entire process. Currently, we are conducting ongoing research on EC-18’s immunoregulation mechanism of action from 2013, as well as clinical trials for two different indications both in Korea and United States.

The photo of Chairman Sohn and Enzychem employees

As the leader of the company, I engage in every step of Enzychem’s new drug development process and micro-manage details with great concentration. My belief is that the leader should not only provide far-sighted vision and goals, but also pay a great amount of attention to detail. Through such processes, Enzychem built an infrastructure and a set of comprehensive procedures for the global new drug development. Another strength of Enzychem is its multiple layers of networks and outside resources. We’ve established strong networks and resources that function as extended workforce to support our operations. Furthermore, we participate in many of government granted and supported programs, utilize the advice of outside experts and professionals, and collaborate with world class laboratories and scientists.


As I mentioned earlier, Enzychem’s new drug candidate EC-18, with its immune regulating mechanism, will resolve existing medications’ limits, minimize adverse events through combination therapy, and ultimately increase the value of already commercialized medicines. This will help reduce the development cost of big pharmaceutical companies and healthcare expenditures while also improving the efficacies of the treatment. It is our mission to develop the safest and most economical form of EC-18 to treat various immune disorders.



You serve as the Chairman of Enzychem Lifesciences. As one of the key opinion leaders in Korea’s biopharmaceutical industry, what are some significant changes you have noticed in the particular work field? And what do you forecast will occur in global and Korean biopharmaceuticals within the next five years?


Mr. Sohn with special advisor Dr. Waun Ki Hong and CMO Ki-Young Sohn at the 2017 Lotte World Tower International Sky Run Dr. Myung Hwan Kim

In the recent decade, the Korean biopharma industry put its utmost efforts as well as significant investments into global new drug development. The Korean government designated the biohealth industry as the next growth engine of the nation. In an effort to enhance the competition of the industry, the government allocated many resources, established promotional policies and launched supporting programs. As a result, the Korean biopharma industry started to bear some fruit in recent years. These include mega-size global licensing deals, and a substantial growth in market capitalization for the Korean biopharma companies. I believe the global recognition of Korean biopharma as a fast growing industry will provide a beneficial environment for Enzychem’s new drug development programs.


The most significant trend of global biopharmaceuticals in the next five years will include the expansion of human immune and gene related technologies and therapies. Maintaining homeostasis and strengthening the immune system are essential in preserving human health. Thus, our immune regulating substance can be used in various ways for all of biopharma partners in the future.



WKMJ has readers from more than 10 countries globally. Please share your final words with our readers.


WKMJ’s Editor-in-Chief Dohyun Cho with Mr. Sohn

I’d like to pay tribute to WKMJ not only for introducing inspiring stories of eminent physicians who have contributed tremendously in the field of medicine, but also for investigating and introducing new stories related to the bio-health industry to promote attention to this industry. It is my great honor to be highlighted in WKMJ. I wish what I shared in this interview can provide interest to many readers and enhance their understanding and recognition of Korea and Enzychem Lifesciences as potential partners for future collaboration.





Ki-Young Sohn

Chairman and chief Executive Officer at Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation

Ki-Young Sohn is the CEO and Chairman of biopharmaceutical company, Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation, a number one leading corporation in the KONEX stock market of Korea. Enzychem’s innovative new drug development program is backed by a 17-year history of API manufacturing. Prior to Enzychem, Mr. Sohn served as Ki-Young Sohn Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Enzychem Lifesciences Corporation Chairman of Bridget Lifesciences Corporation, a professor at the International Management Institute of Federation of Korean Industries, and as Director of Samil Accounting Corporation, which is now known as PWC. Chairman Sohn holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. in Business Administration from Korea University.

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