Shown above are cosmetics made of a natural microbial substance called ES1. HAEL has launched the products in South Korea. Photo courtesy of HAEL

Korean start-up targets beauty and biomarker markets

South Korea’s biopharmaceutical start-up HAEL announced on May 20 that it had launched cosmetics containing a natural microbial substance called ES1 in the country.

The Seoul-based outfit, headed by Prof. Kim Joon from Korea University, noted that the new substance is free from side effects.

“ES1 has an outstanding anti-wrinkle effect by expediting synthesis of collagen,” a HAEL official said. “ES1 has newly been registered in International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary (ICID) after going through clinical tests.”

HAEL’s development on ES1 is based on the start-up’s decades-long studies, which were shared through renowned peer-reviewed journals over the past several years.

Scientists of HEAL have worked on the mechanism where cellular stress responses lead to cellular senescence and cancer through the induced changes in proteins.

They also discovered that ribosomal protein called S3 (rpS3) has endonuclease activity for DNA repair by cleaving the bonds of damaged DNA. HAEL said that such research helped the company make ES1.

Promising biomarker market

Using its expertise on rpS3, HAEL also tries to help people deal with nature’s most-feared killer _ cancer _ by coming up with an advanced biomarker.

Compared to previous ones, HAEL said that the quality of its rpS3-empowered cancer biomarker is much better, with a 64.6-percent sensitivity and 93 percent specificity.

This means that the biomarker will find cancer patients with the correctness of 64.6 percent while return a negative result for 93 percent of healthy people.

“Our cancer biomarker’s correctness is higher than 60 percent. We will improve the purity of rpS3 antibodies to raise the sensitivity to up to 80 percent,” Prof. Kim said.

The global market for cancer biomarkers is projected to top $220 billion by 2027 from $106 billion last year.

To secure enough funds and talents, HAEL plans to go public in the non-so-distant future.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.