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S. Korea unveils W2tr new drug development program

Mook Hyun-sang, head of the government's new drug development project (Ministry of Science and ICT)
Mook Hyun-sang, head of the government's new drug development project (Ministry of Science and ICT)

South Korea plans to inject 2.17 trillion won ($1.9 billion) over the next 10 years to support development of new drugs, the government announced Thursday.

Some 1.47 trillion of that money will come from state coffers, while private players will invest the remaining 701 billion won, the Ministry of Science and ICT said. The goal is to debut new medicines that could generate annual sales of 1 trillion won, it added.

This budget would be spent on supporting the overall development process of new drugs, from preclinical research to phase two clinical trials.

The government has appointed Mook Hyun-sang to supervise the program. Mook would orchestrate research and development supports, out-licensing of drugs, drug regulatory affairs and the project’s partnerships with global players. He will serve until March 3, 2024, and is allowed to seek a second term.

He previously led the government’s earlier version of the program, dubbed the Korea Drug Development Fund. During his term which ended in September, Mook oversaw the commercialization of two drugs, which received approvals from the US Food and Drug Administration and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety here. Mook also spearheaded 57 drug out-licensing cases that amounted to 15 trillion won in total value.

The 10-year drug project that would run through 2030 is a joint project involving the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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