In August, experts told Biopharma-Reporter during a visit to South Korea that the region was poised to become a global biopharma powerhouse.
Already the area of Songdo, about 35km southwest of Seoul, is home to biologics makers Celltrion and Samsung Biologics, and now technologies and services firm GE Healthcare will join them with a Fast Trak Bioprocessing Technology and Training Center which opened this week.
“We’ve made this investment because Korea is becoming one of the fastest growing markets and R&D centers for biosimilars, mainly driven by strong government initiatives and investments to foster the development of the biotechnology industry,” Umay Saplakoglu, Fast Trak global leader at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, told us.
“The Korean government is heavily investing in the bio industry, which is seen as the new growth engine of the nation,” she continued.
Earlier this month, the South Korean government announced a four year plan to fuel the growth of the country's bio-health industry. This includes offering drug companies higher tax benefits and incentives for investing in R&D and undertaking clinical trials on locally developed products.
The government also aims to add nearly one million new jobs in the sector by 2020, cementing Korea’s aim of become a global powerhouse.
“We look forward to our centre continuing to support growth in Korea and we continue to seek partnerships with government to grow together,” said Saplakoglu.
Education and processing
The 2,200m2 site adds to GE’s global network, with similar facilities already established in the US, Sweden, India, and China and satellite Fast Trak Centers in Turkey, Japan and Singapore.
“All of our GE customers, both from the local region or globally, can access our Fast Trak training services,” Saplakoglu told us.
“The courses and services are designed to support R&D, process development, and biomanufacturing experts in all areas of bioprocessing, solving key manufacturing challenges, specialist techniques and supporting scale-up and (cGMP) biopharmaceutical manufacturing.”
The centre currently employs 15 dedicated experts in bioprocessing, she added.