Korea to Create Two Cutting-edge Bio-medical Hubs

Daegu and Osong are two Korean cities that have been selected to accommodate
Korea’s new high-tech medical complexes, similar to the bio-tech medical
hubs in Boston and in Singapore. This project will cost more than $4.5 billion
through 2038, and will be funded jointly by the Korean government and the pharmaceutical
industry. Roughly $1.5 billion will go to facility construction and operation,
and the rest will go to research and development of new drugs. These two cities
will act as the domestic hubs for the medical industry in Korea.

The plan is to relocate the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA), the
Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health-related state-run
agencies to the new Osong Bio-Life Science Industrial Complex. This geographic
concentration of health-related operations aims to foster synergy among these
groups. The Osong complex will also be occupied by biotech labs. Resident companies
will be able to access the following services: clinical tests, assurance tests,
intellectual property protection, etc.

The Osong site received more than $250 million in foreign direct investment
by 2008 alone. Foreign companies are given incentives to invest in Osong; they
will receive tax benefits and exemptions from rent and corporate taxes for five
to seven years. The complex secured a $200 million deal with VGX Pharmaceutical,
a US drug development and manufacturing company, in 2008 to set up its Asia
headquarter in the Osong complex.

Daegu, dubbed the “innovation city,” will house a high-tech, cutting-edge
medical complex. The city of Daegu, the fourth largest in Korea, has shown to
be a prime location for both domestic and foreign medical research facilities
to participate in collaborative research. While the original plan was to have
one city as the medical hub of Korea, the Health, Welfare and Family Affairs
ministry eventually chose two cities in order to encourage specialization and
competition. Construction of both of these complexes is planned to be finished
by 2012.