The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced on Sept. 16 that it selected 25 future leaders to participate in the Korea-U.S. Biotechnology Creative Economy Leader Training Project that starts this year in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This program’s purpose is to help Korean researchers to conduct joint studies at the NIH while taking part in technology transfer education sessions so that they can enhance their start-up and technology transfer capabilities as venture entrepreneurs. Up to 65 million won (US$62,385) is provided for two years for each of the beneficiaries, who are scheduled to join research activities at the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the like and learn about intellectual property rights, technology marketing, and business negotiations at the Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) of the NIH from December this year.
The project is based on the MOU that the ministry and the NIH signed in late February, and the recruitment began on May 12 via the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. The institute examined the candidates’ start-up plans, their compatibility with the creative economy and creativity in depth with the NIH to pick out the 25, which are divided into five in the field of cancer research, two in brain science, seven in immunotherapy, four in drug development, and seven in diagnostic technique.
The NIH, which is one of the world’s most prestigious biotech research centers, is home to 144 Nobel Prize winners, and over 18,000 researchers at 27 labs carry out comprehensive studies on cancer, aging, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, etc. Its annual budget was US$30.9 billion as of 2013.
The NIH earned technology transfer royalties of US$120 million last year by transferring approximately 180 advanced techniques. Thirty percent related to transfer to newly-established firms. At the same time, it has provided advanced technology at a very low price for start-ups so that they can get help in financing and early-stage settlement.