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Seoul spent ₩2 trillion for new drug development in 7 years
  • By Nam Doo-hyun
  • Published 2018.03.02 11:59
  • Updated 2018.03.02 12:01
  • comments 0

The Korean government has invested a total of 1.96 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in new drug development in the past seven years, and 10 percent of them went to the biotech industry, an industry report showed.

The report by the Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP) analyzed where the government’s investment in research and development (R&D) of novel drugs went between 2010 and 2016.

According to the report, the government spent 281.2 billion won a year on average for the R&D of new drugs during the cited period. Among them, the investment in the biotech area accounted for about 7.9 percent to 12.2 percent.

By agency, the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s expenditure was the largest at 807.7 billion won, followed by the Ministry of Science and ICT at 577.1 billion won, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy at 295.3 billion won. The combined investment from the three ministries took up 85.4 percent of the total investment in R&D of new drugs, the report showed.

While the investment by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the science ministry and the welfare ministry annually went up by 13.8 percent, 5.6 percent, and 4.4 percent, respectively, on average, that of the trade ministry plunged by 21.7 percent.

The government’s investment is expanding particularly in early drug development stages, including the discovery of a new target, verification, derivation of candidate substance, optimization, non-clinical trials, and regulatory approval procedures.

The report said the more state support for the early development of novel medicines was to help companies make an early entry in the pharmaceutical market. However, the government needs to prepare measures to stimulate private investment for commercializing new drugs, most of which are at the phase-3 stage.

As of 2016, the largest ratio of the state R&D investment in new medicines went for building infrastructure, with 36.8 percent being spent. By target disease, the government spent the most to fight tumors.

Other areas that received the government investment include derivation of candidate ingredient (22 percent), clinical trials (14 percent), target discovery and verification (12.2 percent), and non-clinical trials (9.7 percent).

By target disease, tumors, infectious diseases, vascular diseases, and arthritis received the state support the most.

By institution, universities focused on the derivation and optimization of candidate substance, companies on non-clinical and clinical trials, and research institutes on non-clinical platforms.


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