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Someone who leads global alliance strategy while embodying diversity

  • # career
  • # corporate
  • # businessdevelopment

Song Juhee

Partnering Dept.
Since 2015

  • University

    Majored in life sciences (microbiology) in undergraduate studies.

  • 1st-5th year

    Joined a Korean pharmaceutical company, working in global licensing-out of company-developed products, licensing-in of products from other companies, alliance management, etc.

  • 6th-7th year

    Enrolled in graduate school in Japan, obtaining MBA degree.

  • 8th year

    Joined Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Worked in licensing-out of Chugai-developed products to overseas companies.

  • 12th year (4th year with Chugai Pharmaceutical)

    Worked in licensing-in of Roche-developed products and licensing-out of Chugai-developed products to Roche. Working in licensing-in of products developed by Roche and other companies since 2021.

Learned of Chugai Pharmaceutical after obtaining MBA at Japanese graduate school.

A native of Korea, Song Juhee majored in life sciences at a university in her home country. After graduation, she joined a Korean pharmaceutical company with an ambition to contribute to society through medicine. Hoping to forge a career in the global arena, Song requested a position in business development at her first employer and was assigned to work on the licensing-out of company-developed products and techniques to overseas companies. She later changed jobs to another Korean pharmaceutical company, where she worked on the licensing-in of products developed by overseas companies. Having gained broad experience in alliance operations, she then decided to enroll in graduate school in Japan. ‘My desire to gain more business knowledge needed for business development in pharmaceutical business grew, and I had long been interested in studying at a graduate business school in Japan, so I enrolled. After I obtained my MBA degree from that graduate school, I started looking for work here, with the hope of testing my abilities in Japan’s large pharmaceutical market.’

Learning of Chugai Pharmaceutical during that job search was truly a fateful encounter for Song. Searching the websites of major pharmaceutical companies in the hope of finding a Japanese company that had openings in business development that would allow her to take advantage of her prior work experience, she found that Chugai Pharmaceutical was the only company advertising such a position. ‘The pharmaceutical company I had worked for in Korea had dealings with Chugai Pharmaceutical, and although I was not directly involved in those dealings, I had a good impression of the company because its employees who visited my company were all lovely people. When I actually interviewed with Chugai Pharmaceutical, I could sense that they valued diversity, and they also recognized my career until then. I felt that this was a company where I could demonstrate my abilities, so I submitted my application.’

Assigned to alliance project with Roche at her own request.

Song’s first assignment after joining the Chugai Pharmaceutical team was to work on licensing Chugai-developed products out to overseas companies. Her mission was to proceed with the series of tasks related to licensing out company products. They include producing a list of potential target pharmaceutical companies, conduct due diligence with those potential targets, make a final selection of target companies, and conclude licensing agreements with them. ‘Leveraging my experience in licensing operations at my former employer in Korea, I worked to conclude agreements that would benefit both sides by thoroughly explaining to the other company the value that only products developed by Chugai Pharmaceutical could offer. During my three years in this role, I succeeded in licensing out two products on a global basis, allowing me to contribute to the company.’ Song was later transferred to the team that works exclusively on the alliance with Roche at her own request.

‘The strategic alliance with Roche is a major unique feature of Chugai Pharmaceutical. Having joined Chugai Pharmaceutical, I definitely wanted to experience an alliance project with Roche, so I asked my supervisor, and I was given the opportunity.’ After transferring to the new team, Song was assigned to a two-way alliance project that involved licensing Roche-developed products in to Chugai Pharmaceutical and licensing Chugai-developed products out to Roche. She maintained close communications with her counterpart at Roche headquarters in Switzerland in proceeding with this work. ‘In the future, I hope to be posted to Roche through the Human Resources Exchange Program so I can enhance my career in business development on a global scale.’

"Patient First" philosophy firmly rooted in business development.

Song’s main job today is licensing products in from overseas pharmaceutical companies, including Roche. She is working hard to establish more efficient processes for due diligence. Since joining Chugai Pharmaceutical, she has understood from experience its sincere corporate culture of "Patient First," a philosophy that she says is also evident in its business development operations. ‘When establishing an alliance with another company, Chugai Pharmaceutical places utmost importance on building a partnership based on mutual trust, rather than on any short-term profits to be gained from that alliance. If the drug in question is something that patients truly need, the company will make the decision to license it even if it may have only limited value to the business. We are all able to insist boldly on what is right for the patients and to always engage in our work with a sound approach. I believe that this is a major benefit of working at Chugai Pharmaceutical.’

Song also says that Chugai Pharmaceutical is greatly advanced in terms of diversity. ‘There are more and more foreign-national employees around me compared with when I first joined, and they are all making their own marks in the company. The current general manager of the Partnering Department is an American. People with diverse backgrounds freely express their opinions and discuss the issues from various perspectives before a decision is made. This is the kind of corporate culture that has been nurtured in this company. Therefore, I feel sure that foreign-national employees can participate in teams without any shortcomings, and they will be able to grasp different opportunities that are presented to them.’ Song’s vision for the future is to achieve major personal growth by gaining experience in other divisions related to business development and in other ways, before ultimately taking on a leadership role in the company as a business development specialist on a global level.

* The contents of this article are correct as of the time of interview.

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