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South Korea’s Hanmi Pharmaceuticals has long promised to turn its home nation into “the Switzerland of Asia.” Whether it plans to be the Roche or the Novartis is unclear, but the biopharma firm is taking the requisite next step of getting into corporate venture capital.

Hanmi Pharma has begotten Hanmi Ventures, a new operation that will invest in fledgling drug firms. The initial outlay is small — about $8.7 million, according to the Korea Herald — but Hanmi said it’s just the first step in a multiyear effort.


The move is a natural next step for Hanmi, which has become the most visible of South Korea’s biopharma firms after signing high-dollar agreements with Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson to develop drugs for diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

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