South Korea Pharma, Biotech & Medtech News: Boston Benchmark; Top Biotechs; Merck Expansion; Medtronic Acquisition


A roundup of some of the most important recent stories from the burgeoning South Korean pharma and biotech industry, including a government plan to expand collaboration with the global innovation hub in Boston, US; a list of some of the country’s most important biotech companies; and Medtronic’s move to purchase EOFlow, a Korean wearable insulin patch maker, for USD 738 million.


S.Korea to bolster biotech R&D, benchmarking US’ Boston (The Korea Economic Daily)

South Korea is poised to boost the biotech industry by accelerating research, education and business partnerships with the biopharmaceutical sector in Boston, Massachusetts. Korea will also follow the US city’s model to expand bio clusters to attract more global companies, institutes and universities, the science and technology ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry announced plans to foster global clusters for advanced technologies during an export strategy meeting presided over by President Yoon Suk Yeol on June 1.


Six biotech companies in South Korea you should know about (LABIOTECH)

A major player in the machinery, electronics and telecommunications market, South Korea’s growing biotech industry has made headlines over the past few years. Home to hundreds of biopharmaceutical companies, the sector saw ₩2.8 trillion ($2.14 billion) worth of investments pour in, according to 2021 statistics.

One of the largest contract drug developers, Samsung Biologics, headquartered in Incheon, South Korea, alone is worth over $40 billion, and is currently expanding its global market in Europe and the U.S..

As the country looks to diversify its production amid strained relations between the U.S. and China, the biotech industry in South Korea aims to be more self-reliant by developing its own raw materials as opposed to procuring cheaper sources from China, a shift we may possibly observe in the coming years.

While numerous South Korean biotechs have secured funding to advance their products and drug candidates in the past year, here are six companies that are pioneering in the country’s biotech arena.


Medtronic to buy S.Korean insulin patch maker for $738 mn  (The Korea Economic Daily)

Medtronic Plc., a Dublin, Ireland-based medical device maker, is set to acquire EOFlow Co., a South Korean wearable insulin patch maker, for $738 million to increase competitiveness in the global diabetes market.

Medtronic said on Thursday that it signed share purchase agreements (SPAs) with EOFlow CEO Jesse Kim and President Luis Malave to purchase all of their shares in the company at a price per share of 30,000 won ($22.6). That was 19.8% higher than 25,050 won, the closing stock price of the South Korean company on the day.

EOFlow separately said Kim, the current top shareholder, inked an SPA with Medtronic Korea Holdings to sell his 18.58% stake for 169.2 billion won in a filing to a South Korean financial regulator. Malave was estimated to hold a stake of less than 5%.


Merck KGaA, on an expansion spree, plots raw materials production plant in Korea (Fierce Pharma)

A recent push by Merck KGaA to become a global CDMO powerhouse has brought the German company to South Korea, where it will build a biopharmaceutical raw materials production facility, the company said Wednesday.

Dubbed the Asia-Pacific BioProcessing Center and located in the growing life sciences hub of Daejeon City, the plant will support commercial manufacturing for biotech and pharma customers in the region.

Daejeon City and Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy are helping fund the effort, according to a nonbinding memorandum of understanding, Merck KGaA said.

Merck said it will work with the government to support biotechs based in the Daedeok Research Complex and will establish research ties with leading Korean universities.


S.Korea’s top pharmaceutical distributor buys 25% of No. 2 Baekje Pharma (The Korea Economic Daily)

South Korea’s top pharmaceutical distributor Geo-young Co. has acquired 25% of market No. 2 Baekje Pharmaceutical.

Geo-young on Tuesday said the Fair Trade Commission approved the transaction. Founded in 2002, the company has 80% of domestic pharmacies as customers and tops its sector in sales.

The stake purchase is in line with the aggressive overseas advance of the nation’s healthcare industry by promoting exports of domestic medicine and medical devices.

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