South Korea Targets Biotech Sector With $300 Million Investment This Year

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The most profitable industries in South Korea are chemical, semiconductor and automotive. However, the country believes it can do more in biotechnology, an industry that is expected to grow faster than all the major three sectors. South Korea plans to invest $300 million in biotech projects in 2015 so that by 2017, the country can produce at least five biotechnology products that are globally viable.

Various South Korean government agencies have come together to foster the country’s biotech industry. According to a comprehensive investment plan disclosed this week, the country believes that it can push its global biotechnology share to 2% by 2017 and push it further to 3% by 2020. Back in 2012, South Korea’s global biotech share stood at 1.3%.

$199 million in 2014, $300 million in 2015

In 2014, South Korea injected $199 million in its biotech sector. There are plans to have fresh investments in the sector annually to increase the overall investment in the industry. The country will choose and select projects based on promising areas and allocate funds accordingly.

Under the newly announced investment of $300 million, single projects will receive funding up to $16 million, which will go up to $44 million by 2017.

The popularity of South Korea’s biotech industry can be seen in the country’s stock market listing. Based on market value, biotech startups currently account for 13.7% of all the listed companies on KOSDAW. That shows a significant uptick from just 3.6% back in 2004.

Venture capitalists support

South Korea’s biotech industry is also getting support from venture capitalists. For example, venture capitalists put $225 million in biotech startups last year, compared to nearly $151 million for IT manufacturing and $131 million for IT services.

As South Korea pushes for growth in its biotech sector, the country also plans to help domestic companies to obtain global certification. That step is important for achieving the global biotech market share goal. Additionally, the country will provide medical standards of some 37 countries.

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