The Korea Herald


Big Korean pharma firms launch venture capital biz

By Korea Herald

Published : July 5, 2016 - 11:34

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[THE INVESTOR] A handful of Korean pharmaceutical companies are scurrying to set up venture capital firms to find new revenue sources by investing in smaller firms in need of capital.

Hanmi Pharm announced on July 4 that it has founded a 10 billion won (US$ 8.7 million) investment company that will invest into biotech and pharmaceutical fields.

“We will contribute to create an open innovation ecosystem by focusing on discovering new drug candidates and pharmaceutical and biotech start-ups,” said Lim Jong-hoon, CEO of Hanmi IT.

The new company, named Hanmi Ventures, will be headed by Hanmi IT CEO Lim, and the capital was raised from Hanmi Pharm chairman Lim Sung-ki and other affiliates

The move comes as Korean pharma firms’ investment in biotechnology R&D is increasing rapidly to find new growth opportunities.

“The local pharma industry has gained confidence after entering overseas markets and developing new drugs in recent three to four years. Accordingly, their willingness to find future growth engines through venture investments has been boosted,” said Lee Jae-kook, a director at Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.

Recently, Dong-A Socio Holdings set up a biotech venture capital named NS Investment in 2015.

“We are currently discovering biotech start-ups who lack of funds although they have superior technical skills,” the firm’s official said.

Another local player Boryung Pharmaceutical plans to participate in a venture capital as a limited partner. “In the long term, we hope to have an independent investment group to nurture start-ups engaged with our (new drug) pipeline,” a company official said. 

By Park Han-na (