Han Sung-jun, CEO of Avixgen, Promises “Seamless IPO by Making R&D Achievements with Focus on Eye Diseases”


▲"We will transfer our technology to global pharmaceutical companies from the moment efficacy and safety are confirmed,” said Han Sung-jun, CEO of Avixgen, in an interview at DxVx HQ in Geumcheon-gu, Seoul.

“We will create a true success story.”

Avixgen, specializing in new drug development, is taking a giant leap forward with the appointment of Han Sung-jun, a former scientist and now a business executive, as its new CEO. As an expert in various fields of drug development, Mr. Han has worked at the Institut Pasteur and served as President of Molecular Devices Korea and CEO of OptiPharm.

Avixgen has a pipeline centered on dry eye disease, macular degeneration, and atopic dermatitis, all of which have massive markets and high demand for new drugs that are superior to existing treatments. The company plans to focus on eye diseases and conditions first and export its technology as development progresses.

“Selection and concentration are the shortcut to success,” Han said in a recent interview. He explained, “We will pursue a strategy of realizing profits by transferring our technology to global pharmaceutical companies as soon as efficacy and safety are confirmed and adding the next pipeline by using this as the momentum.”

Currently, the pipeline undergoing the fastest development is AVI-4015 for dry eye disease. It binds to DDR1 on the membrane proteins of epithelial cells on the surface of the eye, preventing vasodilation at the site of inflammation and inhibiting damage to the tear-producing conjunctival goblet cells. It is expected to enter a Phase 2 clinical trial in the United States as early as this year.

AVI-3207, a macular degeneration treatment agent, is being developed as an injection and an eye drop, taking advantage of its small molecular size and excellent penetration rate. The Phase 1 clinical trial has been completed for the injectable formulation, and global clinical trials are planned for the eye drop.

In this process, Mr. Han plans to leverage the clinical and licensing manpower of Avixgen’s parent company, DxVx. “Multidisciplinary collaboration is essential for successful new drug development, but very few companies have all these experts,” said Mr. Han before adding, “By collaborating with the affiliates that are connected via Mr. Lim Chong-yoon, President of Hanmi Pharmaceuticals, we will be able to fill in the gaps in expertise to shorten the development period and increase the likelihood of success.”

The company is also working to secure cash flow for sustainable drug development. AVI-3307, which is being developed as a therapeutic agent for atopic dermatitis, will be supplied to the parent company as a cosmetic ingredient, with the resulting product set to be launched in the second half of the year.

▲ Avixgen CEO Han Sung-joun gives an interview at DxVx in Geumcheon-gu, Seoul (Reporter Shin Tae-hyeon)

Avixgen is aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) in 2025. Recently, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including promising bio startups, have been facing difficulties as a result of some leading players engaging in behavior that has sparked distrust and dampened investor sentiment.

Mr. Han is working toward a smooth IPO by applying global accounting standards to Avixgen. He is striving to ensure that the company is valued fairly by gaining the trust of investors.

He stated, “The one value I’ve wanted to maintain when I made that switch from being a scientist is the integrity management I’ve learned at global companies. […] I will build a company that does not tolerate any trickery in order to pave the way for investors to return.”

Source: e-Today