AstraZeneca said it would invest $630 million into Korea’s biotech and healthcare sector over the next five years.
Leif Johansson, chairman of the British-Swedish drugmaker, announced the plan at the Korea-Sweden Business Summit, attended by President Moon Jae-in, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm on Friday, local time. The business summit was held as part of President Moon’s state visit.
|AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson announces the company’s five-year investment and cooperation plan in Korea at the Korea-Sweden Business Summit in Stockholm, on Friday.|
“Korea has excellent assets, including world-class researchers in the biohealth sector with a significant potential for growth in the global market. We expect that the sector will advance further with the leadership of President Moon Jae-in and the Korean government’s strategies for an innovative biohealth industry,” Johansson said.
Based on AstraZeneca's belief that innovation can be achieved through collaboration, the company supports the Korean government’s efforts to build a virtuous circle in the biohealth sector by joint works of businesses, hospitals, scholars, and the government, he added.
AstraZeneca’s $630 million investment will be spent on R&D, better accessibility to innovative healthcare services, and quality jobs in the biohealth sector from 2020 to 2024.
The pharmaceutical firm also signed a letter of intent with Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization (KoreaBIO) at a new biologics manufacturing base in Södertälje, Saturday, with Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo present.
The letter of intent aims to cooperate for open innovation and new drug development, provide consultations for start-ups, find ways to utilize next-generation medical technologies using artificial intelligence (AI) or Internet-of-Things (IoT) and search for opportunities for Korean firms to enter overseas markets.
Minister Sung welcomed AstraZeneca’s decision for a massive investment in Korea.
“Korea with excellent technological power and human resources and AstraZeneca with abundant experiences in successful oversea market entries can actively cooperate to create successful cases,” he said.
Last December, the Ministry of Health and Welfare designated AstraZeneca as an innovative pharmaceutical company, recognizing the company’s contribution and investment in R&D cooperation.
The pharmaceutical firm has conducted over 130 clinical trials in the past five years. Among its four Oncology Alliance Centers in Asia, three are located in Korea.
The company has also selected and sponsored four pre-clinical and early-stage clinical trials every year with the Korea Health Industry Development Institute since 2014.