Korea ups R&D budget by 16% in biotech, backs genome data initiative next year

2019.09.04 16:03:11

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The South Korean government proposed to up budgeting for government subsidy in biotech sector by 16 percent next year and finance a project to secure the genome data of 1 million people.

To further back commercialization of new drugs, it will designate five data-driven hospitals to enable clinical practice data for their R&D programs.

The new measures are key part of the government’s drive to promote bio as Korea’s future strength, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced in its outline to aid innovation in bio and health sector Wednesday.

The government announced a vision to innovate and foster the industry as one of the country’s three focus sectors in May.

The government will significantly increase its budget spending to help the pharmaceutical sector develop innovative new drugs and medical devices next year. A total of 1.15 trillion won ($951.8 million) will be allocated to R&D projects in the sector in 2020, up 16 percent from this year. The spending includes 93.8 billion won for the development of full-life cycle medical devices and 15 billion won for the creation of state big data.

Separately, preliminary feasibility studies are underway for large-scale R&D projects, including national drug development project worth 3.5 trillion won (2021-2030) and regenerative medical technology development (2021-2030, 1.1 trillion won). Tax benefits will be newly applied to the development of biobetters.

A national bio big data project to secure genome data of 1 million people by 2029 will be launched next year. As an initial part of the plan, the government will secure genome data of 20,000 Koreans by 2021. In addition, five data-driven hospitals will be designated next year to allow them utilize clinical big data for R&D projects.

By Seo Jeong-won and Minu Kim

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