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Boehringer Ingelheim Expressed “Confidence in the Future” With Recording Positive Momentum in 2020 and Expanding R&D Investment

On the afternoon of the 24th, Boehringer Ingelheim held an online annual press conference and announced the progress of its 2020 annual results and business plans. The event was attended by Hubertus von Baumbach, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors, and Michael Schmelmer, the Member of the Board of Managing Directors responsible for Finance and Group Functions.Currently, Boehringer Ingelheim is engaged in several projects aimed at finding medical solutions to treat COVID-19. In December 2020, the company announced together with Cologne University Hospital, the University of Marburg, and the German Center for Infection Research the initiation of Phase I/IIa clinical investigation of BI 767551. BI 767551 is the first SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody administrated via inhalation as a potential new therapeutic and prophylactic option to block the virus at the site of infection. Other COVID-19 initiatives include the research and development of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that can be combined with BI 767551, small molecules to inhibit its replication, and therapy development to prevent microcoagulation. ▲ Hubertus von Baumbach, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim Hubertus von Baumbach stated that last year Boehringer Ingelheim drastically expanded its R&D investment by promoting the development of innovative medicines and treatments for diseases that do not yet have enough cures. In particular, the company accelerated efforts to research candidates for treatments related to COVID-19, and the total annual R&D investment in 2020 was 3.7 billion EUR, an increase of 7% from the previous year, the highest amount ever in the history of Boehringer Ingelheim for 136 years. Baumbach expressed his ambition, "2020 was a year that reaffirmed Boehringer Ingelheim's long-term R&D vision, and we try to move forward with greater confidence in the future."“The COVID-19 pandemic became an opportunity to find out what direction science is developing and how to contribute, and which field opportunities can be seized rather than risks. Recognizing the urgency of response to COVID-19, we started R&D on therapeutic candidates from the beginning of the first quarter of 2020. Research is underway with several partners around the world for patients,” Baumbach said. “Boehringer Ingelheim's executives and employees have continued to provide medicines and support medical staff to patients and animals. The achievements in 2020 are the result of our employees' efforts.”Besides, Baumbach emphasized the importance of partnership. “Looking back in 2020, Boehringer Ingelheim cannot help appreciating the support received from our partners. Funds and supplies have been provided in many countries around the world, helping COVID-19 patients and communities quickly and efficiently.” Also, “The recent partnership agreement between Boehringer Ingelheim and Google Quantum AI will be an opportunity to bring together all the necessary resources by combining our medical expertise with the algorithms of Google Quantum Computer.”Meanwhile, the Animal Health business of Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the largest providers of veterinary vaccines and medicines and has a strong presence in the livestock and companion animal segments. In 2020, the Animal Health business delivered a strong performance in a highly competitive market and grew by 5%, with net sales of 4.12 billion EUR. Baumbach explained, “Since Boehringer Ingelheim made a strategic decision to pay more attention to the field of animal health and veterinary medicine in 2016, we have continuously strived to develop synergies based on our knowledge between human and veterinary medicines.” ▲ Michael Schmelmer, the Member of the Board of Managing Directors responsible for Finance and Group Functions of Boehringer Ingelheim Michael Schmelmer gave a detailed introduction to Boehringer Ingelheim's performance in 2020, as well as business status including M&A and R&D. “2020 was a good year for Boehringer Ingelheim, although the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were omnipresent. All of its businesses contributed positively to net sales and operating income. The company recorded net sales of 19.57 billion EUR, a 3% increase compared to the previous year. Foreign currency headwinds had a considerable impact; adjusted for currency effects, net sales rose by 5.6% year on year,” Schmelmer said. Also, “We met our ambitious targets, both in terms of our contribution to the wellbeing of humans, pets and livestock, and our business performance. This allows us to continue to invest even more in R&D, as well as in the long-term opportunities we have identified, most notably in the fields of oncology as well as digital and data technologies.”According to the presentation, operating income at the Group level rose to 4.62 billion EUR. One-time gains from divestitures supported the operating income. Income after taxes saw a 12.5% year-on-year increase to 3.06 billion EUR. Cash flow from operating activities increased by 619 million EUR to 3.96 billion EUR. At the end of 2020, the equity ratio stood at 47%. Moreover, the company invested 1.05 billion EUR in tangible assets in 2020, including the large-scale production facility for biopharmaceutical products (LSCC) in Vienna, Austria, and the new development center for biopharmaceutical medicines (BDC) in Biberach, Germany.Last year, Boehringer Ingelheim conducted several M&As to expand its portfolio through selection and concentration. In July, the company announced the acquisition of Global Stem cell Technology (GST), a Belgian veterinary biotech company, to develop and produce state-of-the-art stem cell products for horses and pets. In September, an equity stake in the China-based New Ruipeng Group, a company that specializes in providing medical care services for pets, was acquired. In December, the company announced the acquisition of all shares of NBE-Therapeutics, a clinical-stage Swiss biotechnology company focused on antibody-drug conjugates and advancing targeted cancer therapies derived from its immune-stimulatory iADC™ platform.Wrapping up the presentation, Schmelmer revealed the outlook for 2021. “2021 will be a year in which we continue to cope with the challenges posed by COVID-19. The difficult industry environment caused by increasing price pressures in several major markets is expected to affect 2021 earnings. Assuming that the approved vaccines and other medicines currently undergoing the approval process help curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the company expects strong general market growth for prescription pharmaceuticals. For 2021, Boehringer Ingelheim expects to achieve a slight year-on-year increase in net sales on a comparable basis.”

Hyperconnect, Key to social platform success: reflecting the ‘user voice’

- From tailored engagement features to high standards of community safety — proactively reflecting the needs of “MZ” generation users Social platforms that are popular among the so-called “MZ” generations (Millennials and Generation Z combined) seem to share a common practice: they listen to their users and structure products according to direct feedback. As the protagonists in a new digital era, MZ users are shaping social services through their demands for live, interactive content against a safe and friendly community backdrop. ■ Hakuna Live enables diverse experiences and ensures safe communities Hakuna Live, the second hit project launched by Seoul-based video and AI technology company Hyperconnect, takes the traditional live streaming concept — where one “mega host” broadcasts to many — and enhances it via multi-way communication modes. Dubbed ‘social live streaming’, Hakuna helps every user find his or her place in the social universe — from light chat to counseling, quiz shows, rap battles, casual games and more. As entertainment consumption continues its shift online in the era of COVID-19, Hakuna Live is rapidly growing by introducing MZ-targeted features. For example, Hakuna’s “Guest Mode” allows up to four to co-broadcast simultaneously through a split screen layout, enabling a diverse playground-like experience; Augmented Reality (AR) Avatar mode allows streamers and guests to express themselves with fun, facial data-based characters. This year, Hakuna expects to expand upon its Guest Mode with “Group Chat Live’, allowing up to six people to chat together, further blurring the traditional lines between entertainer and entertained Critically, Hakuna Live is acutely focused on maintaining a safe online community and has spared no expense in building advanced artificial intelligence-powered monitoring systems that can automatically detect and report and variety of unwanted content. Hyperconnect also assembled a Community Safety Supervision Committee in November 2020, consisting of former partners from reputable law firms and former judges. Hakuna Live is currently serviced in 10 countries — including Japan, Turkey, India, North America, and Taiwan — and is planning to expand its MZ-focused launch even further this year. ■ After the success of ‘Snow', Naver’s ‘ZEPETO’ gains ground through a user-first focus The augmented reality avatar platform ZEPETO, operated by Naver Z, now counts over 180 million amongst its global subscriber base — in just two years after its launch. ZEPETO is a product squarely aimed at the MZ users with its 3D avatar environment that uses the latest in facial recognition and AR technology. ZEPETO has also actively catered towards MZ users through its partnerships with generation-relevant content, reportedly earning over 12 billion won from its partnership with Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment and 5 billion won from its partnership with JYP. ZEPETO’s success follows the positive feedback that the Naver-owned ‘Snow’ received from users after adding augmented reality capabilities to its camera app. ■ Facebook’s shift towards “followers” over “likes” To keep up with the needs and feedback of its younger users, Facebook too recently announced plans for a meaningful overhaul to its platform. For example, on pages used by public figures, the 'Like' function — which has been the target of much negative press — has been dropped in favor of focusing on 'follower' count. This change, which positions Facebook as something closer to YouTube and Instagram, is intended give creators a firmer indication of their fan base Facebook had reportedly tested the deletion of ‘Like’ in a number of markets and ultimately made the determination based on user feedback. Facebook will also introduce a dedicated news feed and Q&A function for active exchanges between friends, colleagues, and fans — a step towards deepening “communication” between users, which is highly valued by MZ generations.

Hyperconnect : real-time video AI monitoring system can now auto-block live video content within 0.006 seconds

- Serverless “on-device” artificial intelligence technology pre-filters content at lightning-fast-speeds - Substantial continued investment in user community health and safety According to a representative from Hyperconnect, a recent update enables the company’s real-time video artificial intelligence (AI) monitoring system to pre-block and filter content within 0.006 seconds. Hyperconnect, the Seoul-based AI and video technology company behind Azar and Hakuna Live, has been focused on developing deep learning-based AI monitoring systems for several years. Hyperconnect developed the initial iteration of its AI monitoring system in 2017 — a global-first system capable of filtering content in a live video environment without data ever hitting the server. Dubbed “on-device artificial intelligence”, Hyperconnect’s AI engine drives powerful in-app capabilities directly on a user's device where the app is installed. Since live video can be monitored — and users protected — without data leaving the device, user privacy is preserved. Since then, Hyperconnect has continued to invest aggressively in improving monitoring performance. Depending on mobile device specification, in less than one-tenth of one second — as fast as 0.004 seconds on an iPhone XR and 0.006 seconds for Galaxy S10 devices — content that violates user guidelines in can be automatically concealed from other users. "We have reinforced user protection with the world's best AI monitoring technology, which, along with hundreds of monitoring personnel, is able to block inappropriate content in 0.006 seconds or less for Galaxy S10 users," according to HyunTaek “Eddie” Yong, Hyperconnect's Chief Technology Officer. “Hyperconnect will continue to channel company-wide resources into the development of technologies and best practices that protect users and create healthy user environments.” Recently, Hyperconnect’s AI monitoring system was deployed to its newest social app products: Slide, a social discovery dating app launched in the North American and German markets, and 'Hakuna Live', a social live streaming service available in several markets globally. Hyperconnect’s advanced monitoring technology will also be packaged into the upcoming SDK from Hyperconnect Enterprise, enabling corporate clients globally to create safe and fun environments within various types of live, video services.