Korean Venture Capital Firms Gaze at Overseas Biotech Companies

By Staff Writer

Mar 14, 2016 08:55 AM EDT

South Korea's venture capital firms are eyeing overseas biotech companies. So far, the firms has invested in Chinese and Israeli companies. Meanwhile the tech startups in the country began to grow.

Since her day in the office began, South Korean presient Park Geun-hye has setup a vision to create the "second miracle on the Han river" by putting creative economy at the core of her economic policy. 

In the midst of tech startup development in Korea, the country's venture capital firms are looking into the biotech companies abroad to accelerate investment goals. Last December, Korean Invesment Partner invested in Israeli startup that develop medicine for lymphoma treatment, KAHR Medical. Recently, another firm, KTB Network participated in a of 36 billion won ($30.1 million) of investment in China-based biopharma company CARsgen Therapeutics. 

CARsgen Therapeutics is a company with an innovative immune cell therapy platform. The company is developing a new method to treat glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma and aimed for a clinical trial next year.

Pulse reported that Korea Investment Partners, the country's largest venture capital firm has also raised 100 billion won ($84 million) fund to invest in biotech companies. The fund was raised in cooperation with domestic institutional investors.

Meanwhile, the government has created a special committe to boost its biotech industry. During the 11th National Science & Technology Council last week, Korean government established a Special Committee on Biotechnology, which is led by Hong Nam-ki, first vice minister for science, ICT and future planning.

In a press release as reported by Joong Ang Daily, Korean Ministry of Science, said, "The special committee on biotechnology will put together the sprawled biotech policies and organize them in a coherent manner. Its policies will help companies plan new R&D investments, attract funds and commercialize the businesses."

Overall, the government effort to boost creative economy and building nation's tech startups has begun to pay off. Right after taking office, president Park partnered with the country's big business to create new startup hubs all over the country. Recently, the government pledged to put Korea in the the top seven countries for startup accelerators.

Tim Chae, founder of Korean accelerator 500 Kimchi with $15 million microfund told Tech in Asia regarding Korean startups "I think it's already one of the top single-city markets in all of Asia, from a global standpoint. And I'm here because I believe Seoul has a chance – and is the right pick – to becoming a Silicon Valley type of a hub for Asian innovation in the next three to five years."

As the tech startups in Korea began to flourish, South Korean venture capital firms are eyeing overseas biotech industry. The firms are looking to accelerate their investment goals by investing in the biotech companies.

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