Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome all of you to the 1st Seoul International New Drug Forum.
“First-Class Economic Dailly Newspaper,” the Financial News holds the 1st Seoul International New Drug
Forum under the theme of “Overcoming Barriers to New Global Drugs,” supported by Ministry of Education,
Science and Technology, Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Ministry for Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs,
Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Korea Biotech R&D Group, Korea Pharmaceutical
Manufacturers Association, and Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization.
New drug development is the higher value-added medical business. The dynamics of drug development is
one of the defining characteristics of the world pharmaceutical industry. Despite its importance to our
industry, there are only 14 new drug compounds developed by 11 domestic pharma companies in Korea.
It means, however, our pharmaceutical industry has infinite possibilities. The active cooperation of the
government and the pharmaceutical sector for new growth engines will be the only way to lead our
pharmaceutical industry to top of the global new drug market. Government administrations and the National
Assembly already start up supporting to build a formidable new Bio－Pharmaceutical growth engine for
Korea. Moreover, our pharmaceutical industry also has a clear strategy to continue sufficient investment
We, the Financial News, expect this year forum to serve as a catalyst for advancing far-reaching “Power
Korea of New Drug Development.” I sincerely hope that all participants will find the forum to be most
rewarding and productive.
Ph.D. Publisher & EVP
The Financial News
First of all, I would like to offer my wholehearted congratulations on the opening of the 1st Seoul
International New Drug Forum. The Financial News has organized it under the theme "Overcoming the
Challenges in Global New Drug Development" in recognition ofthe importance of new drug development.
The world's bio industry is recording a high growth rate of 10+% every year. And the pharmaceutical
industry occupies 80% of the whole, making its presence and continued growth crucial. Despite such
immense market importance and growth potential, pharmaceutical investment accounts for a mere
10% of the entire bio engineering investment in Korea.
The pharmaceutical industry is a typical industry that booms in developed countries such as Japan,
the EU, and North America. Furthermore, the technological barriers to entry are higher than for other
industries. These two facts seem to imply that it is difficult to break into a market share structure
dominated by a few developed countries; however, I would like to say that they could also offer an
opportunity for other countries to make their entry to the niche.
Korea's high-quality research workforce and clinical trial infrastructure related to new drug development
have great potential for achieving future growth. The problem lies in the fact that the network of researchers
is weakly linked at best, working against the effective collection of each individual's capacity.
That is why I am certain that this New Drug Forum will present a meaningful opportunity for top specialists
from around the world to come together and discuss the current situation and all our future plans.
I would like to add that the Government is promoting the development of new drug candidates and
also plans to foster the growth of the bio pharmaceutical industry by making it a part of the New Growth
I kindly ask all the researchers to put all their effort into R&D and technological innovation to ensure that
public and private-sector programs contribute to the improvement of public health and the preparation
of future growth engines. I would also like to point out that new drug development often involves living
organisms, and that the related efforts should comply with the prevailing code of research ethics.
I hope that the Seoul International New Drug Forum will be home to constructive discussions that will
assist Korea's new drug development and bio engineering fields in making a great leap forward. In
closing, I would like to express my appreciation for all the work that President Jae-ho Jeonof the
Financial News and other members of staff have put into organizing this event.
Ministry of Education, Science and Technology
Just a century ago, average life expectancy at birth was much shorter than it is now. Epidemics killed
a high percentage of babies and small children, and many people died of diseases that are easy to
Thanks to advances in medicine, there are drugs to treat common diseases and most of us enjoy a
better quality of life than our ancestors. Citizens of some developed countries live more than 80 years
on average. All this amounts to enormous progress in terms of productivity and prosperity.
From the discovery of penicillin in 1928 to that of the cancer drug Gleevec in 2001, biotechnology has
had a powerful impact on humanity. In 2003 scientists decoded the human genome, bringing us one
step closer to unraveling the secret of life. In the near future, it will be possible to develop custom-made
medicines for cancers and other serious illnesses.
Biotechnology is not limited to the medical arena, but is also expected to bring about fundamental
changes in the agriculture, energy and chemical industries. Environmentally friendly forms of biotechnology
are essential to global efforts to counter climate change, and bioindustry products could replace many
The field of biotechnology holds great economic promise as well. One new drug can generate 1 trillion
won in sales and create thousands of jobs. International patent rights remain in effect for 20 years for
new technologies therefore, the capacity to develop new technologies is a great asset to a nation—one
that can attract massive investment. The fact that the bioindustry recorded an annual growth rate of
15 percent over the past few years, even amid a slowdown in growth for conventional industries, attests
to the potential of this innovative new business area.
If the bioindustry has such great potential, does Korea have sufficient capabilities and the necessary
conditions to foster it as a new growth engine? What are Korea’s strengths and what do we lack?
First, the industry needs to reduce its dependence on the domestic market, and more large
biotech companies need to be established. These conditions are necessary to strengthen Korea’s
competitiveness in the global market.
Let’s look at Japan. It produced four Nobel Prize winners in science last year. However, before the
1990s, when its focus was limited to the domestic market, the Japanese bioindustry was declining.
Then the asset market bubble burst and drove biotech companies to pursue a greater number of
mergers and acquisitions. Companies secured advanced technologies and increased in size through
licensing contracts with multinational companies. As a result, 11 of Japan’s pharmaceutical companies
had ascended to the ranks of the world’s top 50 by 2007.
Second, Korea needs to focus on its strengths and invest in them intensively. Korea has excellent human
capital in the field of research and development, and is equipped with a top-notch medical system. If we
pursue the active integration of biotechnology into the medical industry, we will see incredible results. The
MD Anderson Center in Houston, Texas, is one example of a perfect marriage between biotechnology
research and medicine.
Last but not least is the role of the government. As biotechnology requires long-term investment and
involves a high level of risk, the importance of government oversight to mitigate risks and stimulate
investment cannot be overstated. The government needs to streamline rules and regulations so that
support can be provided throughout the development cycle. The Korean government recently announced
a plan to foster 17 new growth engines, including the bioindustry, which we believe will emerge as a
driving force for the national economy within the next 5 to 10 years. In this regard, the first Seoul
International New Drug Forum is a timely opportunity to acknowledge Korea’s achievements and potential,
and to set the direction for a future development strategy.
The world economy is still suffering the effects of a severe financial crisis. Such crises have occurred
in the past under many different circumstances. Yet each time, countries have overcome adversity by
identifying and fostering new growth engines. Korea developed its petrochemical, automobile,
shipbuilding and steel industries during the oil shocks of 1970s and 1980s, and turned its attention
to the IT industry in response to the Asian financial crisis of the 1990s. The end result was an
unprecedented level of economic growth.
It was the great thinker Thomas Kuhn who popularized the concept of the "paradigm shift." Science
does not advance solely through the accumulation of knowledge, Kuhn pointed out, but through
revolutionary changes in thinking.
In this new millennium, the bioindustry stands out as one of the most promising in a knowledge- and
innovation-based economy. With its excellent growth potential and the benefits it offers all of humankind,
biotech represents a central aspect of Korea’s new paradigm for economic growth.
Knowledge & Economy
First of all, I would like to congratulate the Financial News for holding the first Seoul International New
Drug Forum under the theme of "Overcoming Barriers to New Global Drugs."
Amid the current global economic crisis, pharmaceutical R&D is attracting growing attention as it can
benefit the public directly and contribute to national economic development.
The pharmaceutical industry has grown by around 10% annually. Developing new drugs is important in
that it is one of the most effective ways to overcome intractable diseases and promote public health.
It is in this context that I find it timely for the Financial News to provide us with this opportunity to discuss
R&D for global new drugs.
I would admit that the Government is forced to mainly focus on regulation when it deals with pharmaceutical
companies. It is because the business of producing and providing drugs for preventing and treating
diseases is closely related to public health.
I am well aware that it has caused complaints among pharmaceutical companies. And I know that they
are also concerned that the Korea-US FTA, when taking into effect, might weaken the competitiveness
of the domestic pharmaceutical industry and reduce sales as it would strengthen intellectual property
rights protection and reduce tariffs.
The Korean Government recognizes the importance of pharmaceuticals as an industry, not just as public
goods. Our Government intends to lay the institutional foundation for developing the industry into the
high-added value innovative industry.
In outlining our Ministry's plan for 2009, I have reported to the President that we will work to develop the
health care industry. I have especially mentioned the significance of the pharmaceutical industry.
The Government will provide comprehensive support systematically for developing new drugs and
expanding relevant infrastructure. In particular, we are exploring ways to ensure that companies can
be rewarded for their investment in R&D.
The Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs will actively work to encourage pharmaceutical R&D,
with a view to ensuringa healthier and happier life for all citizens.
I hope that creative policy suggestions and ideas will be produced through vibrant discussions.
I wish you all health and happiness. Thank you.
Health, Welfare and Family Affairs