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Korean drugmakers to seek global partnerships at Seoul conference

South Korean pharmaceutical companies and global drugmakers will come together to discuss new business partnerships and “open innovation” at this year’s Korea Pharma Associations Conference in Seoul next week.

The KPAC will be held at the InterContinental Seoul Coex hotel from April 11-12 for some 400 attendees, according to the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association and the Korea Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry Association, the event’s co-organizers.

As one of the biggest pharma industry events of the year, the upcoming conference will center on the theme of “global partnering for open innovation.”


Open innovation in the pharmaceutical industry refers to moving away from a closed, centralized R&D model and instead collaborating with external research institutes, smaller companies and individuals to spur new drug and technology development.

The top research and development executives from big pharma companies including Novartis, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Merck KGaA, Celgene, Amgen, MSD and Johnson & Johnson will hold one-on-one business meetings with the chief executives of Korean pharma firms.

Officials from local biotech startups, the Korean government, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, research institutions, investment banks and consulting companies will also be attending the conference. 


The KPAC will kick off on April 11 with an opening keynote speech by Robert Urban, the global head of innovation at Johnson & Johnson on the topic of “advancing healthcare innovation around the world.”

The first session will discuss “prosperous hot spots in R&D” while the second session will focus on the topic of “how to make the best deal for M&A and BD&L.”

Vice President of Bayer Monika Lessl will deliver the second keynote speech on the topic of “open innovation at Bayer.”

The third session will discuss “cutting edge of open innovation” while the fourth session will zero in on the topic of “industry-academia collaboration.”

For more information and registration, visit Following the KPAC, Korea Bio — another Seoul-based major biotech and health care convention — will take place from April 12-14 at Coex.

By Sohn Ji-young (

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