Global pharma firms’ 2017 R&D investment in Korea up 5.9 percent: KRPIA

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Sept 20, 2018 - 17:51
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2018 - 17:51

Global pharmaceutical companies operating in South Korea locally invested a combined 271 billion won ($242 million) in clinical research and development in 2017, marking a 5.9 percent increase in R&D funding from the previous year, according to the Korea Research-based Pharma Industry Association.

KRPIA is a business association consisting of the Korean units of 28 foreign pharma companies, including Allergan, Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, MSD, GSK, Celgene, GE Healthcare, Sanofi and Merck.

The 28 companies invested 271 billion won toward clinical R&D activities in 2017, up 5.9 percent from the 255.8 billion won invested in 2016. This figure far exceeds 3.4 percent, which was the global average investment toward clinical R&D activities compiled in 2017, KRPIA said.


In line with the trend, the foreign pharma firms’ investment toward hiring local R&D staff increased by 10.4 percent, from 1,386 people employed in 2016 to 1,530 people in 2017, according to the association.

The 28 global pharma companies are also conducting more clinical research studies in Korea. The number of clinical studies completed in 2017 was 1,631 cases, up 20.5 percent from 1,354 cases completed in 2016.

As of 2017, Korea accounted for 3.51 percent of the clinical studies conducted by global pharma companies worldwide. By country, Korea was No. 6 in clinical research volume in the world as of last year, according to KRPIA.

By disease area, the 28 global pharmaceutical companies in Korea were primarily investing in clinical studies for cancer and rare diseases. The number of cancer-related clinical studies was 771 in 2017, compared to 507 in 2016. The number of rare disease-related clinical studies were 274, up from 79.

The members of KRPIA have struck strategic partnerships with Korea’s chief clinical research facilitator bodies as well as local health agencies to actively carry out pre-clinical and phase 1 clinical trial research here, the association said.

By Sohn Ji-young (