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JungJin SEO

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Class of 2021, South Korea

JungJin SEO, Honorary Chairman of Celltrion Group

Areas of focus Entrepreneurship

JungJin SEO is looking to develop the antidote to expensive health care.

Photographic portrait of JungJin SEO

JungJin SEO

South Korean entrepreneur JungJin SEO knew very little about science before founding a biopharmaceutical firm in 2003. Having lost his job at an automaker, he set up Celltrion at the age of 45 after hearing a scientist talk about the future of medicine. Today, the business is a multibillion-dollar global pharmaceutical company, developing groundbreaking drugs to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases and COVID-19.

JungJin spotted the potential of biosimilars — affordable biologic products highly similar to already approved biological drugs — and began researching them by interviewing scientists. He led his team to develop biosimilars to original monoclonal antibody treatments that mimic the body’s natural antibodies. Celltrion launched its first biosimilar drug, Remsima, for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, followed by drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that are now used worldwide.

JungJin believes his industry has a duty to act in the interest of the country at a time of crisis. Celltrion has led the field in developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19, which was approved for use in South Korea in February 2021. Passionate about putting an end to the pandemic, JungJin is doing his part by offering the treatment to Koreans at production cost.