Despite a jittery stock market, shares of South Korean biotechnology company Caregen tripled over the past year, making its founder and CEO, Chung Yong-ji, a billionaire—the first entrepreneur in seven months to join the country’s three-comma club.
Chung, who turns 53 later this month, is the largest shareholder of Caregen, with a nearly 64% stake in his own name. His children Min-woo and Yeon-woo each own 0.05%. Forbes estimates the Chung family’s net worth at $1.1 billion as of Friday’s close.
Based in Anyang, south of Seoul, Caregen develops cosmetics and healthcare products based on peptides, which are short strings of the amino acids that make up proteins. Its most popular product is an injectable dermal filler that treats wrinkles. Caregen says it sells and ships its products to more than 130 countries, and its biggest markets are in the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
The company reported that revenue rose to almost 50 billion won ($40 million) in the first three quarters of 2022, a 13.4% jump over the same period a year earlier, while its net income increased 2.1% to 21 billion won ($16 million). Its anti-wrinkle shot was the biggest revenue driver, accounting for 45% of Caregen’s total sales.
Chung, Caregen’s CEO, founded the company in 2001 and listed on Korea’s technology-rich Kosdaq stock exchange in 2015. He earned his doctorate in animal science at Cornell University, a master’s degree in biology at Texas State University and a bachelor’s degree in genetic engineering at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.