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Korea to promote biosimilar industry

The government Thursday pledged to promote the biosimilar industry, aiming to take 22 percent of the global market by 2020.

Biosimilars, or imitation biopharmaceuticals, are officially approved subsequent versions of innovative biopharmaceutical products manufactured by different producers after the patent on the innovator product expires.

The market for the industry is projected to grow to $14.3 billion by 2015, especially after 2013 when patents for major innovator pharmaceuticals expire, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The country aims to take the opportunity for it to target the global medicine market with price competitiveness. Imitation products do not require as much development cost as innovator products, the ministry said.

“The local generic pharmaceutical industry failed to advance to the global market because it just settled for the domestic market. We need to make this an opportunity for Korea to become a leader in the global bio and pharmaceutical industry,” said Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Kyung-hwan at a meeting with chiefs of local pharmaceutical firms.

The government will reinforce financial and institutional support as well as testing and manufacture facilities to the local biopharmaceutical industry, ministry officials said.

It will particularly name the industry as one of the country’s core green industries to further back firms’ financing, marketing and overall business operation.

The ministry expected that the fostering of biosimilar industry will contribute $2 billion and $1 billion to the country’s gross domestic product and exports, respectively; create 120,000 jobs and foster at least five globally competitive companies.

By Koh Young-aah (
Korea Herald Youtube