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Korea’s bio technology exports nears $10b

The total value of South Korean biotech and pharmaceutical companies’ technology exports is expected to reach $10 billion for the first time this year, according to the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association.

The country’s biotech and pharmaceutical companies’ technology exports amounted to 11.4 trillion won ($9.6 billion) as of Nov. 17, the KPBMA said Monday. As there were deals that did not disclose their contract values, the KPBMA expected the total figure to exceed 12 trillion won.

As South Korea’s annual biotech and pharmaceutical technology exports topped 10 trillion won for the first time last year, the annual figure has been increasing in recent years.

According to the KPBMA’s data, the country’s biotech and pharmaceutical companies signed 13 technology deals with foreign firms to record annual exports of 5.3 trillion won in 2018. This year, there have been 26 deals worth a combined 11.4 trillion won, with the respective values of two deals undisclosed.

Of the deals that have been made public this year, Korea’s Green Cross Lab Cell Corp. and its US affiliate Artiva Biotherapeutics inked the largest contract, worth approximately 2 trillion won, with US-based global pharmaceutical company MSD in January. Under the contract, the three companies began joint development of a cell therapy for cancer treatment.

China has emerged as a major market for Korea’s biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Compared to last year when there were only three deals made with Chinese companies, Korean firms inked 10 contracts with Chinese companies this year.

In March, local biotech company Peptron signed a licensing agreement worth 630 billion won with Chinese firm Qilu Pharmaceutical for the manufacturing, development and commercialization of its antibody drug conjugate.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (