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Lab Experiments

Young Hee Ko, PhD discovered the cancer treatment potential of 3-bromopyruvate (3-BP) in 2000 and since that time has spent her entire professional career focused on harnessing the enormous potential of 3-BP into a cost-effective cancer treatment therapy.


PrimoCure Pharma was established in 2012 by Dr. Ko after she finally brought 3-BP under her control well-enough to bring to market a first-in-class, cost-effective, anticancer therapeutic. She achieved this by utilizing her patented 3-bromopyruvate formulation (KAT 3-BP) and proprietary administration protocols to target the common abnormal metabolism shared by the majority of cancer cells in order to disrupt and cause their death.

Young Hee Ko, PhD - PrimoCure Pharma - Owner, CEO, & CSO

Dr. Ko with her mentor and friend,

Dr. Pete Pedersen

Dr. Ko immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea in 1982, after completing her undergraduate degree at Konkuk University in Seoul the year prior. In 1985, she completed her master's degree in nutritional physiology at Iowa State University, but still "craved a deeper understanding of the way life operated" at the most fundamental level. She then enrolled in the PhD biochemistry program at Washington State University, which she completed in 1991.


The following year, she entered Dr. Pete Pedersen's lab as a postdoc with highest recommendations from four of her former professors. Her doctoral thesis adviser, Dr. Bruce McFadden, wrote that one of her research proposals was "the best and most original... [he] could remember in twenty-five years at Washington State." After working with Dr. Ko at Johns Hopkins for years, Pedersen later went on record to say Dr. Ko was “simply the best scientist that has ever worked in my laboratory in its 34-year history."


In 2012, Dr. Ko founded KoDiscovery, LLC and PrimoCure Pharma, Inc. was also established, eventually becoming a sister corporation. In 2013, PrimoCure Pharma received an FDA Orphan Designation for hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently, Dr. Ko holds numerous worldwide patents for her KAT formulation. The following is a list of some of her other major achievements in recent years.

  • 2019 — Successfully closed a licensing agreement with NewG Lab Pharma (NGLP) for four cancers; liver, bladder, breast and melanoma

  • 2020 — Released her first of four proprietary supplements appropriately called KOfactor 1

  • 2021 — Released three new supplements as KOfactor 1 Advanced; capsules, chocolate & vanilla powders

  • 2021 — Led NGLP to receive an FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) approval for a Phase I/II(a) clinical trial for hepatocellular carcinoma

  • July 2022 — Received an FDA Orphan Designation for pancreatic cancer

  • November 2022 — Led NGLP to initiate a multi-center, 3-cohort Phase I trial for hepatocellular carcinoma in South Korea ( Listing)

  • January 2023 — Receipt of FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) approval for a 3-cohort, phase I/II(a) clinical trial for pancreatic cancer

PrimoCure Mission:

To successfully bring to market a first-in-class anticancer therapeutic by targeting the common abnormal metabolism shared by the majority of cancer cells. Further, to  research, learn and seek to understand our bodies' response to pancreatic and other human cancers, in order to reverse its abnormal adaptive state and restore full health and normal functions. 

PrimoCure Vision:

To become the world leader in the development of metabolic anticancer therapeutics utilizing KoDiscovery Anticancer Therapeutics (KAT 3-BP) to successfully treat the majority of human cancers, causing little to no cytotoxicity, moving forward with pancreatic cancer. Additionally, we will expand our research efforts to develop safe and effective early detection diagnostics for pancreatic and other cancers.

Primo is defined as "of top quality or importance; highly valuable or most essential." We believe these traits perfectly describe the significance of Dr. Ko's goal to bring an effective anticancer therapeutic to market that has the potential to treat 95% of all human cancers. With cancer as the second leading cause of death worldwide, what could be more essential and of greater importance than bringing a safe, effective and affordable anticancer therapy to the world in need? 

PrimoCure Pharma, Inc. (PrimoCure Pharma) is a sister corporation to KoDiscovery, LLC, originally established in 2012 as a Delaware closed corporation to support the development and expansion of Dr. Ko's unique and promising discovery of the ability of 3-Bromopyruvate (3-BP) to shut down cancer metabolism, effectively preventing cancer cells from generating ATP. Without the ability to make ATP all cells will die, including cancer cells. Dr. Ko's patented formulation utilizing 3-BP is called KoDiscovery Anticancer Therapeutics, or KAT 3-BP. One of the unique features of KAT 3-BP is that it only targets cancer cells and leaves normal cells unharmed. Consequently, the terrible side effects caused by most other cancer therapies are not experienced by patients taking KAT 3-BP. And, most importantly, the metabolic properties that allow 95% of all cancers to be imaged using PET technology, serve as the foundational mechanism which makes KAT 3-BP an effective anticancer therapy for those same cancers. 

Through Dr. Ko's past research, vision and dedication paired with her groundbreaking work completed through KoDiscovery, LLC, the goal of developing the first FDA-approved pancreatic cancer drug  has an excellent chance of now being achieved. After successfully receiving FDA marketing approval of KAT 3-BP for pancreatic cancer, PrimoCure Pharma will continue to be the means by which Dr. Ko will fulfill her vision utilizing KAT 3-BP to become the world leader in research, development and treatment of the majority of all human cancers, including orphan and rare cancers.


PrimoCure Pharma has been an essential partner for Dr. Ko enabling her to move forward with her work to bring KAT 3-BP to full FDA marketing approval, having achieved some impressive milestones as a small pharma company in a short, 10-year history. 


  • In 2013, through PrimoCure Pharma successfully received an FDA Orphan Drug Designation to treat hepatocellular carcinoma. In May of 2019, assigning rights through its sister company, KoDiscovery, LLC closed a Licensing Agreement with NewG Lab Pharma, Inc. (NGLP) for the development and commercialization of KAT for four cancer types. In the fourth quarter of 2021, NewG Lab Pharma received an FDA Investigational New Drug approval to begin a unique phase I/ II(a) clinical trial for hepatocellular carcinoma. This three-cohort, phase I/II(a) clinical trial was registered and began patient recruitment in November, 2022. 

  • Building upon her previous success with hepatocellular carcinoma, in July 2022, Dr. Ko has once again received an FDA Orphan Drug Designation status for KAT 3-BP to treat pancreatic cancer.

  • In January 2023, through PrimoCure Pharma, Dr. Ko received an FDA Investigational New Drug approval to begin a second phase I/ II(a) clinical trial, this time for pancreatic cancer. We are now seeking the funding and necessary support in hopes of beginning this clinical trial in 2023. 

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