The Ministry of Science and ICT said it would spend 420 billion won ($361.7 million) this year to secure original technologies in new drugs, medical devices, brain research, and biological big data.
The ministry said it has confirmed its 2020 plan for original technology development projects in the biotech sector to nurture the industry as the next-generation growth engine for the Korean economy. The ministry will increase this year’s spending in the industry to 420 billion won, up 10.1 percent from 380.7 billion won a year earlier.
The Science-ICT ministry’s investment will focus on enhancing Korea’s global competitiveness in critical areas such as new drugs, medical devices, and brain research. Also, the ministry will actively nurture convergence technologies, including biological big data, artificial intelligence-based novel drug development, and 3D biological tissue chips.
The ministry said it put on notice new government projects for new drugs and stem cell research from Wednesday.
To help Korean pharmaceuticals yield fruitful results in new drug development, the ministry will invest 61.4 billion won for new businesses to discover new drug targets and verification.
To accelerate the development of innovative convergence medical devices, the ministry will also provide 29.5 billion won in 2020 for a pan-government medical device R&D project and newly allocate 1.19 trillion won until 2025.
To develop technologies to predict and diagnose diseases in precision medicine, the ministry will spend 4.1 billion won this year to discover and analyze biologic information (omics) such as genomes, proteins, metabolites, and transcriptome.
As the key drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as AI and big data, are expected to transform the healthcare paradigm, the government will also support convergence technologies in the biotech sector.
This year, the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will jointly build biological big data of 20,000 people for research purposes. The science ministry earmarked 4.2 billion won budget for the project.
Besides, to help pharmaceutical firms reduce cost and time for new drug development, the ministry will invest 5.5 billion won in AI-using new drug development and newly spend 2.5 billion won on building a next-generation drug evaluation platform using 3D biological issues.
The science ministry also vowed to support technologies to fight dementia amid the population aging and infectious diseases that directly affect public health.
The science and health ministries will jointly aid the development of technologies to identify the cause of dementia and pathogenesis, and predict the disease and diagnose it early. They will also newly invest in diagnosis, prediction, and treatment of major brain diseases, including brain development disorders, emotional disorders such as depression, and damage in the brain nervous system.
The science ministry will put the notice of new projects for six weeks until Feb. 19. Details are available at the ministry’s website and that of the National Research Foundation of Korea.
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