The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) said they opened a control tower for bio-enterprises and startups dubbed the “Seoul BioHub” in Dongdaemun, northeastern Seoul, on Monday.
Mayor Park Won-soon led the opening ceremony with around 200 participants, including officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and universities such as Korea University and KAIST.
The hub is a cluster of biotechnology research institutes, private companies, and hospitals that will act as a professional bio-startup platform that includes everything from research support to local openings and global cooperation, the institute said.
It will open four sectors – the Industry Support Sector, Research and Experimentation Sector, Regional Operation Sector, and Global Cooperation Sector – in successive order until 2023.
By 2023, the BioHub will have a total of 500 bio-startup residential spaces for both public and private enterprises. It will also invest a total of 15 billion won ($1.3 million) to supply 99 kinds of research equipment, including microscopes, cell incubators, and centrifuges while using 40 billion won to create a support system that helps develop startups.
One feature of the BioHub allows start-ups, global companies, and partner companies to move in and develop their businesses, helping them bypass the so-called Death Valley phase in which startups plateau after three to five years.
Companies will be able to compete in a bio startup challenge where a total of 10 teams will have an opportunity to move into the Seoul BioHub. The operators will give 150 million won and all-in-one consulting services to the top five teams, it said.
The BioHub will also establish partnerships with regional bio-clusters such as those in Osong, Daegu, and Wonju, and operate educational programs for starting entrepreneurs as well as global experts, the agency said.
“The Seoul BioHub is an anchor facility that supports the entire cycle for both startups looking to grow and enterprises seeking advances into the global market,” said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Government. “We will work closely with the central government and regional clusters to spread the development for the bio-industry as a key growth driver.”
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