Seoul to foster synthetic biology, potential game-changer for bio industry

2022.11.30 11:37:02 | 2022.11.30 11:49:55

[Source : National Human Genome Research Institute]이미지 확대

[Source : National Human Genome Research Institute]

The South Korean government will put more resources to fast-growing synthetic biology fields to enhance the country’s technological prowess in the area to the level that could run nearly neck and neck with that of advanced countries by 2030.

Synthetic biology is often cited as a game changer for the bio industry as the new interdisciplinary area involves the application of engineering principles to biology to redesign and create novel artificial biomolecules or biological pathways to treat patients with highly unmet medical needs.

Under a new initiative announced by the Ministry of Science and ICT on Tuesday, the Korean government aims to achieve 90 percent of the world’s highest level in synthetic biology technology by 2030, while establishing a world-class national bio-foundry and fostering six strategic areas of synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology, which covers a broad research area, is expected to have a great impact on various industries such as pharmaceuticals, energy, and chemicals with a speedy approach to technological problem-solving.

Moderna, famous for its vaccine against Covid-19, employed synthetic biology to the vaccine development process to shorten time to market.

The six strategic areas will be selected after comprehensive consideration of overseas cases, local industry capabilities, supply chain, and economic security. The government will also establish a dedicated R&D program to secure core technologies in each strategic field in a timely manner.

The national public bio-foundry scheme aims to increase the speed of synthetic biology research and development by five times and to build a world-class infrastructure capable of designing and manufacturing artificial cells.

Synthetic biology technology will develop and lead a new evolution in the era of transformation where digital technology is applied to breaks through the limitations of traditional biology solutions, said Science and ICT Minister Lee Jong-ho.

By Jeong Hui-yeong and Minu Kim

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