-Head researcher of ¡°Xtandi¡±, the only prostate cancer treatment medicine
-Having refused offers from prominent US institutions, Professor Yoo is confident that he will develop a mega-scale medicine in less than 10 years with outstanding human resources and equipment
Professor Yoo Dong Won (41) has earned a great deal of fortune and has made honorable feats at a young age. He is the developer of a newly launched prostate cancer medicine¡¯ the ¡°Xtandi¡±. He points out that conventional research methods should face changes in order for Korean researchers to achieve world-class results.
Professor Yoo earned his BA, MA and doctorate in Seoul National University. During his Post-doctoral years in UCLA, Prof. Yoo paved the way to developing a new medicine for treating prostate cancer. His efforts from 2008 successfully led him to launching ¡°Xtandi¡± in 2012. The drug is the one-and-only prostate cancer treatment and its sales recorded 2 trillion 200 billion won worldwide. ¡°Royalty Pharma¡± and ¡°Sanofi¡±, both paid patent fees to UCLA, which amounted to approximately 1.3 trillion won. Yoo received over 60 billion won among the loyalty.
He was sought after numerous pharmaceutical corporations and universities. However, he chose to return to his home country and joined the Yonsei-Institute for Basic Science (IBS).
He emphasized the excellence of Korean research resources, be it human resources or equipment. He says these elements should be backed by further advances in research practices.
This is why he is so passionate about nourishing ¡°team research practices¡± and ¡°horizontal relationships among members¡±, which are strengths of US research teams.
¡°Researchers in the US are well-compensated for great achievements, unlike Korean researchers whose achievementsare taken for granted. What Korean researchers most need is the belief that they are contributing to research of their own, not of others¡¯. Such belief is a strong driving force for scientists,¡± Professor Yoo said.
Professor Yoo is currently researching at a nanomedicine institute. He makes nanometer-scaled material that could cure diseases. ¡°Conventional anti-cancer drugs are poor at distinguishing healthy, normal cells from affected cancer cells. Nanomedicine allows only cancer cells to be targeted.¡± New technology is also under way. Cancer cells are injected with magnetic nanomaterial. When hit by external signals, these cancer cells burn.
Nanomedicine is still a blue-ocean sector. It is Professor Yoo¡¯s dream to develop and launch a new nanomedicine in Korea. It is his firm belief that Korea could be one of the leaders of the field.