President Moon Jae-in announced the plan Wednesday, pledging all out efforts on the government’s part as well to nurture the biohealth industry as a new growth engine.
More than a production base for biopharmaceuticals, South Korea will aim to become a bio-industry powerhouse. The competitiveness of the bio-industry is determined by “people and ideas.” We will step up support for research and communication to foster creative personnel and ideas.
Moon visited the country’s biohealth hub in Songdo, Incheon which is home to local companies such as Celltrion and Samsung Biologics as well as research institutes affiliated with the country’s top universities.
Under the plan, the largest chunk will be directed at developing medicines, while the remainder will be used to invest in startups or medical equipment and healthcare sectors.
Noting that it’s a industry that South Korea can excel in, Moon said the government will foster some 47-thousand bio experts by 2025, and also increase the budget set aside for research and development next year by 30 percent to 1.5 billion dollars.
Moon said that the biohealth industry is turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity, voicing hope that South Korea could see its first treatments by the end of this year, at the earliest.
We are overcoming COVID-19 and letting the world know of the potential of the country’s bio sector. We are showing progress in the development of vaccine and treatments, and we may be able to see antibody and plasma treatments on the market as soon as end of this year.
South Korea’s biohealth industry has seen steady growth in recent years.
Exports in the sector this year have topped 10 billion dollars for the first time as of the end of October.
Exports of medicine and medical equipment last year totaled 8.9 billion dollars.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.