Hosted by Korea Health Industry Development Institute (President Kwon Soon-man) and Chungcheongbuk-do (Governor Lee Si-jong) and sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, BIO KOREA 2021 was held June 9-11 in COEX Seoul. In its 16th run this year, BIO KOREA has introduced the technological level of Korea’s pharmaceutical and bio industries to the world.
This year, the emphasis was on collaboration with global institutions and companies. BIO KOREA 2021 examined innovative changes in technology and directions in the biohealth industry in response to the new normal era. Unlike last year’s BIO KOREA 2020, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was successfully held in a hybrid format with conferences, exhibitions, business forums, investment fairs, and job fair programs simultaneously held online and offline.
The ultimate goal of the “Post-BIO KOREA Special: Grasp the Korea-Australia business opportunity” is to promote collaboration opportunities between the two countries and investment in the Australian market.
The Trade and Investment Representative of the Australian Embassy in Korea participated in ‘Bio Korea 2021’ and introduced 28 Australian companies representing a wide range of capabilities in the bio field to the Korean market. A non-face-to-face interview was conducted with an official from ‘Southern Star Research’, a leading Australian Contract Research Organization (CRO).
Q1. What kind of company is Southern Star Research?
Southern Star Research is a leading CRO with full-service based in Sydney, Australia. We have experience working on multiple projects with biotech clients worldwide and specialize in early stage project management. In addition, a professional and experienced team working across the Asia Pacific region and the EU play a role in the commercialization of early stage technology assets into phase III multinational projects.
We are managing research in AU, NZ, Asia and EU with our own resources through our comprehensive network. We are utilizing partner CRO in non-branched regions, and provide fully customized solutions based on customer needs that provides quality data approved by FDA and EMA.
Our goal is to help clients accelerate early-stage development and place phase I/II technology assets for research phase commercialization later on. We take a more flexible and adaptable approach than the large CROs by eliminating wasteful processes and procedures.
Most of our customers are international biotechnology companies coming to Australia to take advantage of its fast approval timelines, incentive programs for R&D tax and high-quality data approved by various regulatory agencies. The company is committed to helping biotech companies get started with clinical research as quickly as possible, and to do so, we leverage relationships with our major early research centers, HREC, and key opinion leaders and suppliers to create collaborative partnerships.
Q2. What are the changes and achievements after Bio Korea 2021?
Bio Korea events have always provided us valuable experiences. Because of this event, we have been connected with many Korean biotechnology companies and have maintained relationships with them continuously.
Korea is known as a leading incubator of biotechnology and medical engineering companies, and the Korean ecosystem is very innovative. Southern Star Research has worked successfully with numerous Korean biotechnology companies and continues to seek new partnerships within Korea.
Q3. The Australian Government is providing support to the biohealth industry, including direct investment in health and medical research and providing R&D support programs. As a company, what do you find attractive about collaborating and expanding business with Australia?
Southern Star Research’s biotech and medical engineering clients benefit from a range of support programs provided by the Australian Government. First, R&D tax incentives are essential programs for the clinical research industry when working with foreign companies. This program allows eligible companies to receive financial assistance (up to 43.5% tax refund) for research and development carried out in Australia.
This has helped establish Australia as a major clinical destination for the early stage of research. Considering exchange rates and R&D tax incentive programs, conducting a clinical trial in Australia could be up to 60% cheaper than conducting a similar study in the United States.
Another factor that has enabled Australia to become a leading provider of clinical research services is speed. Foreign customers can administer to the first participant within 4 to 6 weeks after submitting documents for approval by the Clinical Research Review Board. This means we can help our international customers bring their clinical assets to market faster and cheaper.
Biotechnology and medical engineering companies also benefit from Australia’s efficient regulatory systems, rapid clinical trial approval systems, strong intellectual property legal systems, well-established infrastructure, highly qualified healthcare professionals, and globally transferable and reliable data and also be able to use clinical protocol in other jurisdictions.
Global companies can rapidly recruit subjects by leveraging their long-term relationships with major early research laboratories, a rich network of key opinion leaders, laboratories, distribution centers, financial experts, and regulatory/ethics experts. This is why many international companies have chosen Australia and partnered with Southern Star Research.
Q4. Are there any issues regarding business revitalization between Korea-Australia?
As Korea continues to lead the development of new drugs and medical engineering, we are aiming for more active Australia-Korea cooperation.
Combining Australia’ competitive s tax incentive system with Korean biotech’s cutting-edge products and extensive experience, Korea’s biotechnology-biopharmaceutical industry is expected to be ahead of competition from other foreign companies.
Q5. Is there any message you would like to give to Korean companies?
Southern Star Research is accumulating successful stories from extensive early research phase experience. 75% of our projects are Phase I and Phase II studies, and it maintains long-term relationships with leading early research centers across several countries. This allows you to select the right research institution and recruit participants as quickly as possible.
Our goal is to help our clients formulate the right strategy and develop their research design. This will enable partners to successfully complete Phase I and II studies as quickly as possible and then conduct Phase II b or III studies in the US, E.U. or Asia, while benefiting from up to 43.5% R&D tax incentives.
Meanwhile, the Australian Embassy’s Trade and Investment Representative Department provides various services for Australian companies to successfully enter overseas markets through a global network, and strives not only for activities to attract foreign direct investment to Australia, but also for overseas marketing in the Australian education sector. In particular, when collaboration with Australian companies is required, they play a role of a practical assistant.