Government vows to boost spending in biotech R&D

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Government vows to boost spending in biotech R&D

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said Thursday that it will spend 315.7 billion won ($273.7 million) this year to develop new biotechnology as part of efforts to become a global biotech and medical industry hub.

The 2017 budget, a 31.4 percent jump from a year earlier, is aimed at developing key biotech in sectors such as genome and brain science, the ministry said.

Of the total, 262.6 billion won will be allocated to develop key technology, including new medicine, medical instruments and future-oriented medicine, which are viewed as the nation’s next growth engines after IT, officials said.

The announcement comes as combined exports of medicine, medical instruments and cosmetics jumped to 9.3 trillion won in 2015 from 4.7 trillion won in 2011, government data showed. The number of people working in the industry also jumped to 760,000 in 2015 from 620,000 in 2011, according to the data.

The ministry said it also aims to spend the budget to provide an environment where young researchers can freely focus on research and development on medicine and medical devices.

“The bio sector is a leading science business industry where the results of R&D directly lead to success in the market,” Hong Nam-ki, a vice minister, said in a press release. “The ministry will make all-out efforts by designating the sector as the country’s strategic industry.”

In recent years, local bio companies have become more competitive on the global stage on the back of robust R&D spending and government support, the ministry said. YONHAP

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