With a magnitude 5.4 quake hitting Pohang in North Gyeongsang Province, industry officials raised concerns that Pohang-based biopharmaceutical firms might suffer damages to their expensive equipment.
The latest earthquake was the second biggest in Korea since the nation began recording tectonic plate movements in 1978. The most potent quake hit Gyeongju, also North Gyeongsang Province, last September.
According to the Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization on Thursday, the latest earthquake left one piece of equipment damaged at the Pohang Techno Park (TP) Bio Center.
The Pohang TP Bio Center, a cooperation body among businesses and universities in the region, opened in 2011 to test safety and efficacy of new drugs and functional foods, and to develop new technologies for medical diagnosis and prevention of diseases. The center has various pieces of advanced equipment, such as laser blood circulation scanner and wireless device to measure cardiovascular pressure.
The KBIO is still investigating which biopharmaceutical firms in Pohang suffered harm from the earthquake. Biopharma factories and research labs have specialized equipment to analyze characteristics of proteins, detect heavy metal and sterilize germs.
DongA-ST’s plant in Dalseong County in Daegu had a light shake but did not suffer damage. There was no damage report in other biopharmaceutical clusters adjacent to Pohang, such as Gyeongbuk Institute for Bio Industry in Andong and Bio-Chemical Commercialization Center in Ulsan.
The KBIO said it would further gather damage reports from its members across the nation and discuss compensation for earthquake damages, if necessary.
“As the earthquake was felt not only in Pohang but other regions, the KBIO decided to gather reports from our members across the country,” said an official at the KBIO. “We worry about damages to equipment at biopharmaceutical-related departments at universities and production plants. After conducting an investigation, we will report to the government and discuss compensation.”
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