Updated on 10 May 2012
Dr Huh has led Green Cross to become a rapidly-growing Korean pharmaceutical company, with a two-digit growth rate for the last five years. To a large extent, broad and strong partnerships have been a critical part of the company's growth strategy and will continue to be a strong driving force for its future growth. The strategic alliances have enabled Green Cross to expand their clinical development programs towards global market and to launch new products.
In a highly important deal, Green Cross entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Thai Red Cross Society to establish a plasma derivatives manufacturing plant worth approximately $61.6 million. This is the first time that a Korean pharmaceutical company has secured an MoU to build a plant to produce plasma derivatives overseas. Besides, Green Cross is expected to advance into emerging markets as well as established markets in South East Asia.
Dr Huh has also led the company to get USFDA approval for phase III clinical trials for Immunoglobulin IVIG-SN, the first domestically-developed biopharmaceutical. It is estimated that Green Cross' exports of IVIG-SN will be worth more than $100 million by 2015. In 2011, he fostered an agreement with Japan's aRigen Pharmaceuticals for joint development of the super antibiotic ‘WAP-8294A2'. He also forged an agreement for introduction of endometriosis therapy ‘Diphereline' with Ipsen Korea and entered into ‘R&D industry-university cooperation MoU' with Yonsei University Health System.
The company also entered into an agreement with the US-based MacroGenics for joint development and exclusive sales of Herceptin anticancer antibody therapy. Last year, the biggest blood fraction products and recombinant gene products plant in Asia, Ochang factory, was completed by Green Cross.
To strengthen competitiveness in the global market, it is critical to retain superior human resources in R&D and train them. Green Cross has strived to recruit both local and overseas candidates and seeks specialists with in-depth expertise and experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
Over the past 40 years, Green Cross has worked continuously for producing new medicines that could save lives in Korea and the world. With a strong belief that R&D is the future, the company aims to become a leading world-class biopharmaceutical company through continued investment in R&D. "This goal is achievable given our drug-development experience, such as developing vaccines for hepatitis B, chicken pox vaccine, and AIDS diagnostic reagent, and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Also, over and above economic benefit we highly value integrity and code of conduct, and are responsible towards our core business strategies and their execution for the nation and people, " observes Dr Huh.
Besides his contribution and responsibilities towards Green Cross, Dr Huh has been playing multiple roles in the industry that bring him larger credibility and recognition. He was the chairman of the board of Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacture Association from 2005 to 2007, vice chairman of Korea Biotech Association and is currently the vice president of Korea Tuberculosis Preventive Association. "By doing so, I have contributed in making Korea biotech industry mature and stand proudly on the global stage with other advanced countries," he believes.
Reacting to the government's drug price control measures, the financial burden of public health insurance system, and expanding presence of multinational pharmaceuticals in the Korean market, which is taking a toll on the Korea life sciences industry, Dr Huh says, "I believe that the role of an entrepreneur in the Korea life sciences industry is to focus and develop innovative medicines. The field of life sciences is often exclusive and impenetrable, which is why we are focusing our R&D to rapidly grow into a global game changer as a specialty biopharmaceutical company."
Giving his views on Korea's position in the global vaccine market, Dr Huh shares that the vaccine market, especially in Korea, is relatively small compared to its population, yet it is growing, and various Korean pharmaceutical manufacturers are increasingly investing in vaccine business. This is different from what the case was in the past when Korea had been importing all the vaccines from overseas. Green Cross as a leader in the vaccine field is now expanding its vaccine business towards the second generation technology, like cell-based culture vaccines and multivalent vaccines.