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  • Law firm's entry into the pharmaceuticals is just beginning
  • by Kim, Jin-Gu | translator Choi HeeYoung | Mar 30, 2020 06:18am
Lee & Ko Hyeong Gun LEE, M & A expert experience
Samsung + Biogen , Samsung Bioepis joint venture
The role of law firms in drug prices and regulations will be more, expansion to domestic companies and bioventures
The role of law firms has recently grown in the pharmaceutical bio industry. Some process was through law firms. Kim & Chang, Lee & Ko, Yulchon, HMP Law, and LK Partners are expanding their business areas in the healthcare field.

The most prominent law firm is Lee & Ko. The overall evaluation is that, in terms of the health care team members, they compete for the first and second place in the industry with Kim & Chang, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

 ▲ Legal Counsel of Lee & Ko, Hyeong Gun LEE

On the 24th, I met Hyeong Gun LEE, a representative lawyer (51), who leads the healthcare team at the office of the law firm in Jung-gu, Seoul.

In the field of law, he is already considered one of the M & A experts. He was in charge of M&A, division, and sale of large corporations. Limited to the healthcare sector, Samsung Bioepis, joint venture of Samsung Biologics and Biogen's was established by him.

When asked why the law firm is expanding so aggressively in the healthcare sector and how much more it will expand, he said that it's only now that the team is perfect and full-fledged activities are from now on.

In fact, in 1994 (at that time, the US-Korea Law Firm) when he joined Lee & Ko, the law firm had a healthcare team. However, at that time, it dealt with traditional fields such as M & A, litigation, and patent issues.

As the size of Lee & Ko grew, there were many healthcare tasks. In particular, the demand for customers was expected to surge in terms of insurance listing and application. Eventually, from 2017, the business in the field of reimbursement, drug price, and regulations began to expand.

Lee & Ko has been recruiting talent very aggressively in recent years. Former executive director of AstraZeneca, Young-Sik Byun and former Novartis Director Sung-ju Kim, who were considered to be a master of the M&A field, newly settled in Lee & Ko.

Kyung-soo Kang, former head of the HIRA, Wook Lee, former deputy head of the HIRA, and Young-sup Han, former head of the MFDS, joined Lee & Ko. Prior to that, Chae-min Lim and Gun-ik Son, former Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare were appointed as advisors. As a result, Lee & Ko’s health care team of about 50 people including lawyers and professional committees was established.

Accordingly, other law firms are also competitively recruiting talent. In Kim & Chang, Kyung-Ho Lee, former Vice Minister of Welfare, Man-Bok Jeon, and Yong-Hyun Park, former Welfare Department Head, In-Beom Kim, and Jun-Ho Yang, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, and Byung-il Lee, former head of the HIRA, were recruited early. In Yulchon, Hee-jung Choi, former head of the Welfare Department, Yang-ji Ryu, former head of the Welfare Department, and Seong-jin Kim, former head of the Food and Drug Administration were recruited.

“For a long time, it was planned to recruit experts with long practical experience. It may be the first in the industry. The effect of recruiting experts was more than expected. Customer satisfaction and awareness have increased considerably. We can get a good idea of what customers want. Now, it is the best in this field because the team has been built to some extent.”

It is said that it is now complete as a team. As a result, Lee & Ko is able to cover virtually all healthcare sectors, from traditional tasks such as M&A, litigation, patent issues, and compliance to drug price and regulatory affairs.

“Among the various tasks, the areas that I want to focus more on in the future are drug prices and regulations. It is also a matter of the individual companies we consult, but we want to put more focus on the institutional aspects. reimbursement and drug prices are directly related to national health. In fact, there are many parts of the drug price regulation that I can't understand even if I look at it as an attorney. It is said that regulation leads the industry, but the standards are too difficult and complicated. I want to be a little clearer and kinder.”

It also suggested the goal of expanding its business area towards domestic pharmaceutical companies and bioventures. In fact, the main clients of Lee & Ko (especially in the pharmaceutical sector) were mainly foreign pharmaceutical companies. However, recently, a domestic company has a new drug lineup and is seeking global advancement. He also predicted that their demand would increase.

“Recently, the size of domestic companies has grown. Previously, it was mainly focused on generics and sales, but recently it is developing new drugs and seeking global expansion. However, it is true that the experience of developing new drugs is insufficient. We expect it to help.In fact, inquiries from domestic companies have recently increased. I want to help with bioventure work. Many of these major contracts (M&A, investment, and funding) are thought to be unreasonable. I want to help you to solve this reasonably.”

Unlike large-scale law firms, the long-term vision is different from what was expected to prioritize performance and ranking competition.

In the field of healthcare, I want to be uniquely happy with the first place. We want our health care team to be happier than any other place, and we want our customers working with us to be happier. I think that unparalleled happiness is truly the number one value that cannot be counted by numbers. ”
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