Korean IT firms, manufacturers tap into biotech pool

2020.11.20 13:44:30 | 2020.11.20 13:44:56

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Both big-tech services and traditional manufacturing companies in South Korea are tapping bio and health care ventures for synergy amid fast migration to contactless society.

Naver, Korea’s biggest portal service provider, announced in September that its subsidiary Naver Cloud signed a four-party memorandum of understanding with Korea Innovative Medicines Consortium (KIMCo), Syntekabio, and Center for AI-based New Drug Development Facilitation. Naver’s initial plan is to develop innovative drugs such as Covid-19 treatment and enter the genomic big data market using drug repurposing technology from Syntekabio and other biotech firms.

Kakao, the country’s biggest messaging app, already established Asan Kakao Medical Center for medical big data solution business. The center is a joint venture between Kakao Investment, Asan Medical Center, and Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings. Sources say Kakao will leverage its data management expertise to create new business opportunities in the biotech industry.

Hancom With, a subsidiary of computer software company Hancom, is involved in senior healthcare business. Hancom With completed staffing for its new business and began to run a daycare center for seniors over 65 years who need special care in August. The company aims to secure at least 3,000 daycare centers across the country by 2025.

Posco, the country’s leading steelmaker, launched a fund in September and executed investment into rehab medical device developer Neofect and plant-based Covid-19 developer Bioapp.

Solar power company OCI created a bio-business team last year and entered the global oncology market by investing into SN BioScience, a local startup that is developing a pancreatic cancer drug.

Samsung SDS, a leading IT service company, recently made inroads into the digital health market by establishing a data platform for heart disease monitoring and cancer disease prediction.

By Kim Si-gyun and Minu Kim

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