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Hwang Woo-suk Walks Out of Meeting with Japanese Biotech Expert

Hwang Woo-suk Walks Out of Meeting with Japanese Biotech Expert

Posted November. 08, 2005 07:25,   


A Chaired professor at Seoul National University Hwang Woo-suk (52) abruptly walked out of a meeting with a renowned Japanese academic in biotechnology.

He left because the organizer of the meeting, a bio-venture company named CrystalGenomics, did not notify him prior to the meeting of the fact that it was an open meeting where journalists would be present.

Hwang was scheduled to meet Professor Yusuke Nakamura (Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo, 53), a world-renowned academic in the field of cancer genomics, at the Lily Room of the Hoam Faculty House, Bongcheon 7 Dong, Gwanak Gu, Seoul, at 8:00 a.m. on November 7. The meeting was scheduled for about an hour and was to focus on genome and stem cells and their implication on the future of life science.

The organizers publicized the meeting by saying, “Because Professor Hwang accepted our invitation enthusiastically, a meaningful dialogue between Hwang and Yusuke Nakamura is expected. They are likely to talk about issues like the possibility of cooperation between the field of stem cell research and the field of cancer genomics.”

However, Hwang said, “Why are journalists here?” and walked out of the meeting after discovering seven to eight journalists at the meeting place.

The organizers, disconcerted, tried to stop Hwang from leaving, but failed.

In the end, the meeting proceeded behind closed doors after Nakamura visited Hwang’s office at the SNU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Right after the meeting, at 11:00 a.m. on November 7, Professor Hwang left for New York to attend consultations on the World Stem Cell Hub research.

On November 4, CrystalGenomics sent an e-mail to Ministry of Science and Technology correspondents notifying them of the open meeting scheduled for November 7 and asked them to cover the event.

CrystalGenomics formed a technological alliance with the bio-venture company Onco Therapy Science (OTS), founded by Professor Nakamura in 2001, and entered into an agreement with OTS under which OTS will assist CrystalGenomics with $1.2 million (about 1.2 billion won) in research grants over the next two years. CrystalGenomics intended to announce the content of the agreement right after the meeting between Hwang and Nakamura.