Region/Countries: Asia, South Korea Industry: Biosciences / Medical Devices, Other Date: May 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies can get involved in plans to use artificial intelligence and data analysis to better understand rare diseases.

As part of the new growth engine for its economy, South Korea is investing in its biohealth industry and hospital system by capitalizing on artificial intelligence, medical big data, precision and high-tech regenerative medicine. The country plans to spend $3.34 billion in artificial intelligence R&D to create a big data platform to be used for developing customized new drugs and new medical technologies. To build this platform, South Korea’s National Institute of Health plans to collect and analyze the medical information of 1 million patients with rare diseases, as well as genetic information from the patients’ families, to build a big data center that will boost research into causes and remedies for rare diseases. In addition, the project will build a big data platform that explores novel drug candidate materials using artificial intelligence and predicting potential technologies by analyzing biohealth patents.

Along with government spending, private sector investment is also projected to increase. South Korea’s conglomerates as well as existing pharmaceutical companies see great potential in the industry and have been aggressively investing in production facilities and R&D. The South Korean pharmaceutical company Hanmi Pharmaceutical is planning to collaborate with universities and hospitals on developing new drugs. In addition, biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion recently announced plans to invest $33.6 billion in the bioscience and health care sector by 2030.

With increasing investment from both the public and private sectors, South Korea's biotech industry is expected to gain momentum in the coming years. As South Korean companies try to diversify and globalize, Wisconsin biotech companies with advanced technologies and experience can consider working with South Korean companies through partnership, equity investment, merger and acquisitions, and joint R&D and marketing.