[Sponsored Report] Songdo aims to become the world’s bio center
The bio industry in Songdo announced its plan to expand the city into a worldwide bio hub. It is trying to grab the attention of investors and labs by taking advantage of its proximity to Incheon International Airport. It is expecting strong results after creating the world’s best biomedicine production facilities and establishing agreements with the industry and academics.
The Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZA) recently opened its Global Bio Hub Symposium and announced its plan to expand the Songdo Convensia center. It also created the IFEZ-Agencies Agreement to successfully create a bio hub.
With the goal of creating the world’s best bio hub and supporting overseas expansion and development by expanding the value chain and building infrastructure, Commissioner of the IFEZ Kim Jin-yong announced several plans. The plans include developing research and the service industry for global medical health care, building infrastructure for research development and commercialization to create global competitiveness and using fourth industrial revolution technology.
He also discussed planned training for qualified employees in skills required for the bio industry aimed at overseas markets. Songdo’s Bio Fusion Start-up Venture Polis Formulation will provide jobs for youth through new ventures and financial support for bio fusion facilities.
At the symposium, Kim Young-sam, deputy minister of trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, promised extensive governmental support for the global bio hub.
“Songdo will become a cluster similar to the United States,” he said. “The IFEZ and Ministry of Industry will work together to connect the original technology of college labs’ innovation enterprises with new medicine development. I also am sure that the pharmaceutical industry, with Incheon at its center, will be the major growth engine of our economy.”
Experts have consistently pointed out that IFEZ’s achievements in the biotechnology sector are significant. Songdo has the highest bio production capacity of any city in the world, exceeding San Francisco and Singapore. Seven out of 10 of Korea’s licensed bio products, including four from Samsung Bioepis and three from Celltrion, were from companies based in Songdo, making Songdo the largest biomedical research and development city in Korea. Last September, Songdo was selected as an overseas expansion and production cluster in government’s plan to develop the bio industry in Korea. All these results prove that Songdo is leading Korea’s bio industry. Currently, there are 25 large bio organizations and 60 smaller laboratories in Songdo.
Celltrion produced the first antibody biosimilar drug for the global market, Remsima, in Songdo. Global companies are also investing in large scale facilities. Samsung Biologics owns the world’s largest biomedical manufacturing facility in Songdo.
In addition to these major achievements, experts are also aware of the many advantages of Songdo in the bio industry. Biomedicines are produced using animal cell cultures and therefore it is important to import and export products before the status of products change during storage and transportation. Songdo is conveniently located near Incheon International Airport. Businesses in the area can expand easily because Songdo has access to Seoul’s highly-educated workforce.
Elite universities including Yonsei University, Incheon Global Campus and Incheon National University are also located nearby. Lastly, large research labs and manufacturing facilities from companies such as Celltrion, Samsung Biologics, Samsung Bioepis, Charles River Laboratories, Ajinomoto Genexine and GE Healthcare are located in Songdo. Due to all of these advantages, Songdo is now a mecca for the global bio industry.
“The global bio industry was worth $32.31 billion in 2014 and is expected to increase to $42.73 billion next year, with annual growth of 5.7 percent. The scale of the global biomedicine market was $17.9 billion dollars in 2014, double the value of the semiconductor market. This shows the high development potential of the global bio industry,” said Kim Jin-yong, commissioner of the IFEZ. “As commissioner, I will support the creation of a bio hub in Songdo that will surpass the global bio clusters in San Francisco and Singapore. It will become the world’s best bio hub.”