SK Bio-Pharmaceuticals Announces New CEO, Dr. Christopher Gallen

Published: Mar 08, 2012

SEOUL, South Korea & FAIR LAWN, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--South Korean pharmaceutical company SK Biopharmaceuticals announced that Christopher Gallen, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the company as its new CEO as of March 1. He will also serve as CEO of the wholly-owned American affiliate, SK Life Science, Inc. The announcement was made by Sang-Hoon Park, Ph.D., President of SK Biopharmaceuticals and Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In making the announcement, Dr. Park said, “Dr. Gallen is one of the most recognized leaders in the life sciences.” Dr. Gallen has over 30 years of experience in the life science area and was previously Executive Vice President of Zalicus Inc. and immediately before that was President, CEO, and a member of the Board of Directors of Neuromed.

Based on a rich depth of experience during his career, Dr. Gallen’s arrival is expected to significantly enhance the abilities of SK Biopharmaceuticals not only in the ongoing discovery and clinical development activities of the company but also, and especially, in commercialization, business development, and fund-raising.

President Park said, “We are pleased to announce Dr. Gallen’s appointment to lead SK Biopharmaceuticals. He will lead the clinical development and commercialization of our pipeline. We anticipate that he will be a catalyst for the transformation of SK Biopharmaceuticals into a leading pharmaceutical company not only in Korea but also in the global marketplace.”

Dr. Gallen remarked, “SK Biopharmaceuticals is an impressive corporation, a remarkable corporation. I am honored to join SK Biopharmaceuticals and build on this excellent foundation, a first-rate, innovative, Asian-originated pharmaceutical company creating, developing and eventually commercializing cutting-edge innovative medications treating diseases that affect millions of people globally.”

Dr. Gallen led the clinical and commercial development of Exalgo™, a pain reliever for chronic conditions that represents a turning point in the treatment of pain. He was a key contributor in growing Zalicus into one of the most exciting small pharmaceutical companies. He has led collaborations with pharmaceutical giants such as Merck and Alza Corporation, a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.

Before joining Zalicus, Dr. Gallen served at Wyeth Research as Vice President and Chief of Operations, Clinical Research and Development, in charge of global clinical operations including clinical trial management, data management, biostatistics, clinical communications, procedural compliance and training. Prior to Wyeth, he was Vice President of Medical Development at Pharmacia, President of the Clinical Research Organization division of Premier Research Worldwide, and Senior Director of Medical and Scientific Services at Quintiles International Clinical Research Corporation. Dr. Gallen received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and was trained in psychiatry at Stanford University and in neurology at the University of California at San Diego.

In recognition of his distinguished service and contributions, Dr. Gallen was named by PharmaVOICE as one of the “100 Most Inspiring People in the Life Sciences” in 2007.

Dr. Gallen’s position will be finalized by the stockholders and approval from the board of directors at a meeting planned for the end of March. Dr. Park, the current CEO, was recently assigned as Head of Manufacturing at Hynix Semiconductor Inc., an affiliated company of the SK Group; he will stay on as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

About SK Biopharmaceuticals

SK Biopharmaceuticals is a newly-independent development-stage pharmaceutical company as of April 2011, after being spun out from SK Holdings, the third-largest conglomerate in South Korea. SK Biopharmaceuticals focuses on discovery and development of new drugs as well as providing custom services for the manufacture and sales of active pharmaceutical ingredients as well as producing intermediates of drugs for major companies, including Pfizer and Roche, in their factories that have been newly approved in Korea for current Good Manufacturing Practices of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

SK Biopharmaceuticals, through its affiliate SK Life Science, leads all Korean pharmaceutical companies with 13 authorized INDs in the U.S. Among compounds in current clinical development areYKP3089 in Phase 2b trials for the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain, SKL11197 in a Phase 2a trial for the treatment of neuropathic pain, and YKP10811 in a Phase 2a trial for the treatment of chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. In February, YKP3089 was selected for funding from the Korea Drug Development Fund. SK Biopharmaceuticals intends to file INDs later this year for two additional compounds, one for the treatment of Alzherimer’s disease and one for neuropathic pain; both of these compounds are first-in-class candidates acting via new mechanisms of action.

In parallel with its internal development, SK Biopharmaceuticals has adopted a strategy of collaboration with partners to accelerate drug discovery and development. Its current partners include Neuronex with diazepam nasal spray for the treatment of acute repetitive seizures, Aerial Biopharma with SKL-N05 for the treatment of narcolepsy, Medicilon with SKL-PSY for bipolar disorder, and the Mayo Clinic to identify molecules that interact with the TDP-43 protein in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease).

The Drug Development Business division of SK Biopharmaceuticals has a preclinical research and development center located in Daejeon, South Korea, and SK Life Science, its business development and clinical research center in New Jersey, for the clinical development of its assets in the areas of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease.

The Custom Manufacturing Service (SK CMS) is a second business division of SK Biopharmaceuticals; it generated $40 million last year in the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients for other pharmaceutical company customers. Major customers of SK CMS include Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche. These customers have recognized the quality of the products and the operational efficiency provided by the Korean FDA-approved manufacturing facility in Daejeon, Korea. This facility is fully automated and is used to conduct technologies proprietary to SK Biopharmaceuticals, such as continuous flow synthesis, low temperature reactions, and catalytic conversions, that differentiate the company from other chemical suppliers.

For more information, visit


SK Life Science, Inc.

Business Development

Duncan Taylor, 201-421-3842

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