ChungBuk Free Economic Zone (CBFEZ) invited foreign investors who participated in the Invest Korea Week 2017, an event organized by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and managed by KOTRA, to a FAM tour on Nov. 9 to check investment environment in the zone.
About 10 foreign investors, who attended the Invest Korea Week that was held in Seoul for three days from Nov. 7 to 9, looked around Osong Bio Valley and Cheongju Aeropolis.
While greeting them, CBFEZ Authority Director General Jeong Hyo-jin, said, "ChungBuk is a strategic airport of the country's central districts and links anywhere in the country through the 24-hour operating Cheongju International Airport and the Osong Station. It is also located in the center of the nation's express traffic network linking seven expressways from all directions.
"In particular, the ChungBuk region boasts of favorable business environment such as excellent manpower and low personnel expenses. Related to this, it was selected as a sole region that garnered the "A" degree in growth among local governments across the country. It also ranked first in the factory-registered increase rate, the growth rate in the number of mining and manufacturing companies, and the per capita regional total production growth rate in the country."
Meanwhile, Patrick Duffy of E Agri from Australia who participated in the FAM tour said, "I'd like to invest in Korea's high-tech farming sector. In this context, I am looking for a Korean business partner."
Jay Han, CTO of Siloam Biosciences in the U.S., said, "I have a keen interest in making investment in Korea. Related to this, I came here to look around investment climate in the ChungBuk region."
Besides, Masaki Kitao, president of Giebel in Japan; Spencer Huh, director of Jenex Corp. in Canada; Mike Grehan, president of LifeArt in Hong Kong; Bill Kang, general manager of Ardentic Korea; Li Jie, director of Qingdao TianAn Cyber Park in China also expressed their concern about various tax benefits, fund assistance, deregulation, educational & medical institutions, and other business environments in the ChungBuk Free Economic Zone.
On the last leg of the tour, foreign investors visited Curachem, a CRO (contract research organization) for radioactive labeled compounds-specialized clinical test which was selected as one of the model companies resided in Osong Bio Valley.
Curachem is a global provider of custom synthesis of radio-labeled and stable isotope labeled compounds. To reduce cost and increase productivity, customers in the pharmaceutical industry entrust Curachem to carry out R&D activities. In the Radio-labeling* field, Curachem is a sole company in Korea.
In an interview with Korea IT Times, Curachem CEO Shin Sook-jung said, "Originally, Curachem was established in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. In December 2016, however, its headquarters moved to Osong Bio Health Science Technopolis, the world's sole bio R&D cluster where industrial, academic, research and government sectors gathered. It is very easy to move to the metropolitan area through public transportation. As the core government agencies of the pharmaceutical industry, including the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, are located near, we can get various consulting services and other supports easily. In case that a number of research centers of pharmaceutical companies reside in Osong, we expect more synergy effects with them in the future."
On other merits, CEO Shin said, "First of all, there is a health care administrative town in Osong Bio Health Science Technopolis. So that, we can get relevant services smoothly. In particular, we are receiving actual supports from the four core research support facilities in the estate _a new medicine development support center, an advanced medical instrument development support center, an experiment animal center and a clinical trial new medicine production center."
Asked about the future business prospect, she said, "Radio-labeling is the business field that can grow in keeping with the development of the pharmaceutical industry. As the aging and long-lived era comes and more people pursue better quality of life, the pharmaceutical industry is expected to enjoy a speedy growth and the frequency of their use of CROs will get higher."
At present, over 95% of Curachem's sales come from exports and its biggest exporting country is Japan, followed by the U.S., Europe and China.
"In the future, we will place the major export target on the U.S. and Europe and accelerate exports with our independent competitive power in the radio-labeling sector," the CEO added.
* Radio-labeling means the composition of labeled compounds using radioactive isotope. It is the technology to confirm the function of substance of new medicine in developing new medicine.