BusinessKorea had an interview with Eom Bo-young, General Director and Head Researcher of Department of Technology Business at the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) to hear about the details of the coming “BIO KOREA 2016, which has emerged as Korea’s biggest window to international exchanges and trade of health and medical technologies.
Would you recount the meaning and purposes of “BIO KOREA 2016” to be held at the COEX in Seoul in late March?
The government and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) has been hosting BIO KOREA in order to promote the globalization of the Korean pharmaceutical and bio industries now emerging as a new growth engine for Korea since 2006.
The event marks its 11th anniversary this year. As Korea’s representative international pharmaceutical and bio industrial show, BIO KOREA has been taking the lead in the development of Korean bio and health industries to help Korea become one of the top seven bio industry powers by 2020.
This year sees the government’s R&D investment for about 20 years begin to pay off. BIO KOREA will serve as Korea’s biggest window to international exchanges and trade of health and medical technologies by providing a general business platform for the bio and health industries.
Would you introduce key programs and contents of this year’s BIO KOREA?
Bio Korea 2016’s major programs consist of conferences, business forums (partnering and business research presentations) and exhibitions. Others include Pharm Fair to help Korean pharmaceutical companies make a foray into overseas markets, Investment Fair to bridge venture capital firms and Korean companies, MedTech Fair which promotes exchanges of information on medical equipment, HT R&D Tech Fair to spread the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s R&D achievements and Job Fair for bio companies and job seekers and so on.
First of all, the conference features ten seminars including “digital health care,” “precision medicine” and “the foundation of business,” and nine sessions designed by learned societies, colleges and the Department of Technology Business at the KHIDI. So the conference will give visitors a nice glimpse of medical companies’ and researchers’ research outcomes and future directions. In particular, leading Korean and foreign companies in the wearable device, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) sectors will discuss the future of medicines via innovation cases in the health care sector. We planned programs as a business-centric conference with our focus on cutting-edge bio technology and start-ups, both of which are key words in the growth of the health industry.
The Online Partnering System offers opportunities for one-on-one meetings where companies and organizations talk about business and research cooperation by way of pre-scheduling and on-the-spot meetings.
In addition, Korean and foreign bio companies will be able to make business and research presentations about their products, technologies and research achievements. On top of that, Start-up Hall, Research-Oriented Hospital Hall and the New Excellent Technology will showcase a wide range of technologies and products based on excellent new technologies.
How big is the event? Would you tell us about watchable companies?
BIO KOREA is the largest of its kind in Asia. Last year, BIO KOREA drew about 20,000 visitors from 41 countries around the world. 606 firms opened their booths at Bio Korea. About 1,100 business meetings were held.
This year, BIO KOREA will run with about 470 booths of about 250 companies and organizations, showcasing the newest products and technologies in the bio and health sectors. Denmark, Belgium, Italy, India, China, Thailand and Australia will open their national booths.
197 speakers have been invited to the 19 conferences and 4,478 people have finished their registrations up to now. 330 companies from 25 nations will take part in the Partnering program. Over 2,000 partnering events are expected to be arranged. Business and Research Presentations will be made by 70 companies and research organizations which will present on their products, technologies and research outcomes. This event will give opportunities to promote businesses by arranging meetings between Korean and foreign bio companies.
How competitive are Korean companies in the digital health care sector? How will you support them?
Lately, the health care industry is growing fast thanks to the aging across the world, the increase in medical expenditures and the government policies to promote the convergence of medical technology and IT. A marriage between ICT and BT technologies such as wearable devices, Internet of Things (IoT), and Big Data and bio technology accelerates medical innovation, changing the paradigm of the medical industry.
Korea already has the world-class IT and infrastructure, which can give Korea relative stronger competitiveness in the digital health care revolution. In addition, Korea’s rational hospital management system and excellent medical staffs are internationally recognized along with a high level of medical informatization, which is expected to lead the nation to take a better position in the sector. The KHIDI will lead the way to ease regulations and give steady supports to start-ups by providing opportunities for the convergence of BT and IT as well as raising funds for start-ups in connection with business incubation programs. By doing so, we will nurture global bio and health leaders.
Could you describe the current state Korean bio drug technologies are in? What matter is the Korean pharmaceutical industry focusing on?
Last year, five new drugs were developed in Korea and 26 drug technologies including that of Hanmi Pharmaceutical were exported. Korean pharmaceutical companies’ export amounts including 8 trillion won of Hanmi Pharmaceutical totaled 9.3 trillion won for technology exports and about 3.2 trillion won for pharmaceutical products. Besides, Samsung BioLogics completed the world’s largest bio pharmaceutical plant in Incheon, Korea.
This year, the Korean government is stepping up its support for Korean companies to rank in the list of the global top 50 pharmaceutical companies by improving investment environments, easing regulations and supporting the development of bio drugs.
In particular, Korea has been expanding R&D investments since introducing a material patent system in 1987 and securing competiveness in production technologies thanks to its achievements in new development (20 cases) and clinical test capabilities (tenth in the world), which brings a big potential to Korea in developing bio drug technologies. Thus, Korea will expand its R&D investment mainly in innovative pharmaceutical companies and prepare plans to let human sources flow into the bio engineering and medical & pharmaceutical sectors.
In addition, we will apply more energy to creating more friendly investment environments in a bid to support technology commercialization activities such as technology transfer, joint research and set-up of new business and pursue development and globalization of new drugs. We will also make endeavors to establish advanced infrastructure and an ecosystem to enhance the competitiveness of the Korean bio and pharmaceutical industry.
Please introduce the Department of Technology Business at the KHIDI and reveal its future plans.
The KHIDI was established to elevate the Korean health care industry’s international competitiveness and contribute to the enhancement of public health by carrying out projects for development of the health care industry and enhancement of health care services in 1999.
In 2013, the KHIDI built step-by-step support systems through specialized researchers from creation of intellectual properties to their commercialization. In 2015, we renamed the center to the Department of Technology Business.
As an public organization specialized in the bio and health sectors in Korea, the Department of Technology Business is supporting policy establishment which can create a virtuous cycle of technologies and markets by building a streamlined circulation management system from locating new technologies to strengthening patent rights, technology marketing, commercialization and education, and support for business foundation. On top of that, the department supports the commercialization of promising bio and health technologies via a wide array of supporting projects by holding Bio Korea every year, which arranges venues to build the global bio and health networks.