CEO scientist gets U.K. acclaimA Korean scientist has earned the distinction of being listed by the U.K.-based International Biographical Center no less than three times as one of 2,000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century, 2,000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century and 2,000 Outstanding Scholars of the 21st Century.
Kim Kyoung-soo, 41, the chief executive officer of venture company Chirogenix, seems embarrassed by these appellations. The International Biographical Center has published the Dictionary of International Biographies for over 40 years, listing details of the most influential individuals in the world today.
Mr. Kim was put on international biographical listings 14 times this year, and while it is common for university professors and researchers to be listed, it is rare for a company executive.
Mr. Kim is credited with developing new antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. In particular, the listing reflects his success in developing a new method to produce paclitaxel, a “raw material” for producing anti-cancer medicines. Mr. Kim currently has 24 patents, with 13 more pending.
“I am not a famous person and it is puzzling that my name is up on the list of international biographies,” Mr. Kim said. “The fact that Korean scientists seem to have a good reputation may be a factor.”
Mr. Kim graduated in chemistry from Kyung Hee University and received a Ph.D. at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology at 26, becoming the youngest doctor of philosophy in Korea. He then worked at the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology and Hanmi Pharmaceutical for nine years, developing raw materials for antibiotics and anti-cancer medicines.
“Developing new drugs is a hard and tedious fight with oneself,” Mr. Kim said. “We repeatedly synthesize a chemical and then patiently wait for a result.”
In 1998, Mr. Kim first launched his own company, C-Tri, a company that developed raw materials for health foods. Mr. Kim said he wanted to do more than basic research. “I wanted to make everything from raw material to end products,” Mr. Kim said. “Soon, I realized that acquiring technology is just not enough for doing business.” The company grew to employ 150 workers, but it ran into financial troubles, and Mr. Kim left.
In 2002, he founded his current company, to develop new anti-cancer medicines and prepare clinical trials. Mr. Kim said he felt pressured to work harder because of the listing. “I would like to be recognized as a chemist and a businessman,” Mr. Kim said.
by Park Hye-min