The total output of the South Korean biotech industry topped 10 trillion won (US$9 billion) in 2017 for the first time ever, led by the growth of the biomedicine sector. The industry’s annual exports showed a year-on-year growth of 11.2%.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the combined output of 984 biotech firms in South Korea reached 10.1264 trillion won (US$9.11 billion) in 2017. The figure represented an increase of 9.3% from a year ago. The industry’s output has grown at an annual average of 7.8% for the past five years.
The output of the biomedicine sector rose 9.5% year on year and reached 3.8501 trillion won (US$3.46 billion). In that sector, therapeutic antibody and cytokine preparation production totaled 1.2422 trillion won (US$1.11 billion) with year-on-year growth of 31.9%, while blood product and vaccine production rose 21.6% and 4.2% to 450 billion won (US$405 million) and 582.7 billion won (US$524 million), respectively.
The output of the bio-service sector jumped 39.3% to 813.6 billion won (US$732 million), led by consignment production and agent services, which rose 64.3%, and bio-analysis, bio-diagnosis and service exports, which grew 73.4%.
The biochemical and energy sector posted 1.4564 trillion won (US$1.31billion), a 9.2% increase from a year ago. The growth was led by bio-cosmetics exports.
Last year, exports from the biotech industry totaled 5.1497 trillion won (US$4.63 billion) with a year-on-year increase of 11.2%. The figures were 1.6456 trillion won (US$1.48 billion) and 12.7% on the import side.
During the past five years, the industry’s employment grew at an annual average of 4.8%. Specifically, the employment totaled 44,269 as of last year, up 6.5% from a year ago. Those with advanced degrees accounted for 25.3% of the total, much higher than the average of all industries, 8.6%.
Last year, the total investment in the industry was 2.2162 trillion won (US$1.99 billion), up 8.1% from a year earlier. R&D spending and facility investment rose 6.1% and 12.8%, respectively. The number of companies in the industry investing at least 50 billion won (US$45 million) in R&D rose from four to seven.