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 Australian Trade and Investment Commission 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. A non-face-to-face interview was conducted with an official from one of those companies, Nucleus Network, an Australian Phase I clinical research organization.
Q1. What kind of company is Nucleus Network?
Nucleus Network is Australia’s largest Phase I clinical research organization and is a Phase I specialist with facilities in Australia and the United States. Since its establishment in 2004, it has conducted more than 1,000 clinical trials for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, including Korea, China, Europe, Japan, Taiwan and the United States.
Q2. Please introduce the clinical trial facility.
We have Phase I facilities in Australia in Melbourneand Brisbane, and one in Minneapolis, USA. We have over 200 beds in the clinical trial site, and are strategically located in major key medical, research, and biotechnology zones, including the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in Brisbane, and Medical Alley, USA.
These sites provide access to highly specialized ancillary services for conducting complex Phase I clinical trials. With the first specialized PD (Pequipment for human research in Melbourne, Nucleus Network has experience in conducting the most complex early-stage clinical trials with dedicated infrastructure for mass biosimilar research in Brisbane, and dialysis capabilities for complex kidney research in Minneapolis, US,
Q3. Were there any issues such as the possibility of cooperation with other companies and the development of relationships after BIO KOREA 2021?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, there were great difficulties in communicating with other companies and customers and creating new opportunities. In this situation, BIO KOREA was able to actively develop and build a business relationship with (potential) customers, and it was a good opportunity to increase our presence in the Korean market.
Q4. 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 partnering and expanding business with Australia? Also, where do you think the support from the Australian Government is needed?
I think we were lucky to have government support through multiple channels. As a good example, service providers like us were connected to companies that wanted to conduct clinical trials in Australia through the Australian Trade and Investment Commission. Above all, this support from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission is helping clients understand the clinical trial environment in Australia.
Especially in the clinical trials, taking the first step is particularly important, as early participation is safe and efficient, and also essential to performing tasks on an optimal schedule. We appreciate the collaborative approach that connects businesses through the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and would like to take part in the steps to promote the clinical trial services to more parts of the Asia-Pacific region in the future.
This goes beyond the level of support the company has received from the government. In particular, the Research and Development Tax Rebate gave the clinical trials run in Australia a major competitive advantage worldwide, and contributed to streamlining the approval process.
At other government-sponsored events have, it has played an important role in raising our awareness in the region by providing key contacts in the field with showcases of Australia’s capabilities, information sessions and networking and partnering sessions prepared in many conferences.
Q5. Is there is a biohealth issue in Korea worth paying attention to revitalize business between Korea and Australia?
The ability to diversify our trading partners and expand our ways of generating revenue is an important part of our future growth goals. The medical research field is growing rapidly in the Asia-Pacific region, and as the industry is zoning in certain regions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it is a very important opportunity to form meaningful long-term partnerships with Korean pharmaceutical and biotech groups.
Korea is one of the Asia-Pacific countries where investment in the field is growing rapidly, and developing as an innovative member of the medical research community. As the travel bubble between countries and regions becomes a reality and it is convenient to communicate with countries with a similar time zone, Korean companies and universities are expected to quickly become an essential part of the medical research landscape.
Q6. Any last words you would like to say?
Because the process of bringing research findings to the market requires a collaborative effort, getting a product to market as early as possible can provide significant cost and time savings.
The value and efficiency can be ensured only when we contribute to the development of the protocol and establish the timeline that meets the requirements of our partners, and this can also guarantee the optimized framework that can maximize the robustness of information submitted to the appropriate accrediting body.
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission of the Australian Embassy in Korea provides various services for Australian companies to successfully enter overseas markets through a global network. It is also engaging in activities to attract foreign direct investment to Australia and overseas marketing of the Australian education sector. It is in charge of helping cooperation with Australian companies when needed.