Mr Yong Taek Chang, Chairman of Shin Poong Pharmaceutical passes away

MMV mourns the loss of a dear friend and partner

07 Mar 2016

MMV was saddened to learn of the passing, on 28 February, of Mr Yong Taek Chang, Chairman and Founder of our drug development partner Shin Poong Pharmaceutical Company.

"Mr Chairman", as he was invariably known, was originally from North Korea and founded Shin Poong in 1962 after settling in South Korea. This was a very delicate moment for Korea – during the civil war the country had faced several serious epidemics, and there was a severe lack of quality pharmaceutical products. Mr Chang saw the opportunity to develop and deliver quality, accessible medicines to those in need, first in Korea, then in many developing countries around the globe.

He was once quoted as saying “When our country needed the world’s help to stand up from the shadows of war, we had it; now it’s our turn to contribute to the development and well-being of humanity. Shin Poong’s everydaywork is driven by this ideal”.

Mr Chang founded the company in 1962 after he graduated for Seoul National University School of Pharmacy in 1961 and built the company into an organization with a portfolio of thousands of medicines, and was passionate in his belief that pharmaceutical companies have a duty of corporate social responsibility to the communities they serve. In this spirit, he championed the development in partnership with MMV of Pyramax® (pyronaridine-artesunate a new anti-malarial fixed dose combination therapy for malaria patients in endemic countries.

It is fitting that Mr Chang lived to see the fruit of this commitment when, last November, Pyramax tablets and granules received an Article 58 positive scientific opinion from the EMA which would finally allow use of the medicine without geographical restrictions or impractical liver monitoring. Shortly afterwards, he wrote to MMV’s CEO, Dr David Reddy, with words that summed up his commitment:

“It is very important for the pharmaceutical companies to perform CSR activities. In order to fulfil our social responsibility, we have tried our best to develop Pyramax despite of all the difficulties and challenges. I have spent more than 50 years in the pharmaceutical industry. I believe that Pyramax is the product that I am most proud of among thousands of products we have produced so far.”

“MMV mourns the passing of Mr Chang,” said Dr David Reddy. “He was a committed partner and an inspirational man whose vision has directly improved the lives of millions. We send our condolences to our friends and colleagues at Shin Poong.”