South Korea has become a powerhouse in the biotech industry. “President Moon Jae-in announced a “road map” for growing South Korea’s biopharma sector that calls for creating 300,000 new jobs by 2030, as well as tripling to 6% the country’s share of the global pharmaceutical product and medical device market. That would raise the value of those exports from $14.4 billion last year to $50 billion. The road map calls for fostering an innovation “ecosystem” that includes tax incentives, reduced red tape, and reforms to all phases of drug development from development to approval, production, and market launch. Another provision calls for the government to create a “National Bio Big Data” database with medical data on about one million people by 2029, for use in R&D on precision drugs and medical technologies.” Source
Highlighting my top 5 was not an easy task. Smaller South Korean biotech companies have been very adept at partnering with larger, multi-national companies to accelerate development and global commercialization.
Seegene, Seoul, has benefitted from COVID-19 testing. According to their web site, they have exported 10 million diagnostic tests to over 60 countries. Their All-In-One Platform, STARlet, performs dozens of molecular diagnostic assays in the areas of infectious diseases, women’s health and personalized medicine.
ImmuneOncia Therapeutics, Yongin, is a cancer immunotherapy company with a robust pipeline. They currently have partnerships with Sorrento, 3D Med, Yuhan and LCB. They specialize in immune checkpoint inhibitors.
OliX Pharma, Gyeonggi, market next generation nucleic acid technologies.
Olyx was founded by experts in RNAi technology who have been researching and finding solutions to these problems of RNAi drug development for the past several years. Their diverse pipeline includes products for skin, liver, cancer immunotherapy, neurotropic pain, eye diseases and lung.
Y Biologics Daejeon, has a Dual antibody platform technology, ALiCE: (Antibody Like Cell Engager) which is a Next-generation dual antibody platform technology that maintains the functions and natural structure of existing antibodies. They have created multi-target antibodies from their library to target PD-1, DLK-1, LAG-3 and some proprietary candidates.
LISCure Biosciences, Gyeonggi, was established with the goal of developing a ‘bacteria-mediated immunotherapy’ that can treat people by itself or be used in combination with other drugs for major indications such as tumors, degenerative neurological diseases, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases, etc. They currently have a robust pipeline for RA, Oncology, CNS and NASH.