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Songdo to become a hub for K-Bio labs... Incheon’s bio-industry to get a significant boost

Bioventures and start-ups... More job opportunities, and a stimulated localeconomy

Incheon will get a new opportunity to advance to the forefrontof Korea’s bio-industry thanks to its successful bid to host the “K-Bio LabHub,” a specialized support organization for start-ups in the bio industry. OnJuly 9, Incheon was selected as the final winner of the bid for the “K-Bio LabHub Construction Project” commissioned by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.

In particular, with all of the groundwork for a robust bio-industry alreadylaid in Incheon, along with the city’s new “Bioengineering Personnel TrainingCenter” (Incheon’s won the bid for the Center last year), building the “IncheonBio Cluster” and the collaboration between industry, academia, research, andmedicine are expected to gain more momentum.
 



▲ On July 9, Incheon was selected as the final winner of the bidfor the “K-Bio Lab Hub Construction Project” commissioned by the Ministry ofSMEs and Start-ups. 

 


On July 9, the Ministry of SMEsand Startups reviewed proposals made by five local governments, includingIncheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, Daejeon, Chungcheongbuk-do, and Jeollabuk-do, andultimately settled on Incheon as its new locale for the K-Bio Lab Hub project.

The K-Bio Lab Hub project involves building a specialized supportinfrastructure for start-ups in the biotechnology field, such as new drugdevelopment, to help nurture bio start-ups.

The K-Bio Lab Hub is based loosely on Lab Central, a Boston-based bio-startupsupport organization. Essentially, it is an infrastructure construction projectaimed at offering a comprehensive range of support in terms of the facilitiesand equipment necessary for bio start-ups may require. It will also invitestart-ups to move into the Hub, and provide the infrastructure required inexperimenting, researching, producing clinical prototypes, and cooperating withother stakeholders in the industry, academia, research, and medicine.

With the K-Bio Lab Hub construction project expected to cost KRW 250 billion ingovernment funds, the Incheon Metropolitan City Government and the Ministry ofSMEs and Start-ups will look to discuss further funding details for the Hubsometime in the near future. By winning the bid for the K-Bio Lab Hub, Incheonis expected to build a complete cluster for the bio value chain in Songdo,expand job opportunities with more bio ventures and start-ups, and stimulatethe local economy.

Both the Incheon Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of SMEs and Start-upsagreed on a preliminary feasibility study to ensure the viability of the Hubproject. Given that the project passes the preliminary feasibility study thisAugust, the budget will be created and construction will get under way in2023~2024.
 

▲On July 9, the Ministry of SMEs and Start-ups reviewed proposals made by fivelocal governments, including Incheon, Gyeongsangnam-do, Daejeon,Chungcheongbuk-do, and Jeollabuk-do, and ultimately settled on Incheon as itsnew locale for the K-Bio Lab Hub project. Image of Incheon Mayor Park Namchooncommenting on Incheon’s bio-industry at an event in 2020.


Incheon prepared since last year to win the K-Bio Lab Hub project, and it madeextensive efforts to create the right atmosphere for a new hub for bio labs.

The Incheon New Deal announced in November last year included the city’s planto create a “Bio Lab Central” tailored to Incheon bio-industry environment. TheMunicipal Government also hosted meetings with overseas experts to help fine-tuneits Bio Lab Central initiative in collaboration with other relatedorganizations.

When the K-Bio Lab Hub project was announced in May, the Incheon Metropolitan CityGovernment worked in tandem with the Yeonsu-gu Office to build a consensusamong local residents in support of the project with online and offlinepetitions. Incheon also signed a memorandum of understanding with the KoreanAmerican Society in Biotech and Pharmaceuticals to bolster its global network.

In order to solidify the collaboration between industry, academia, research,and medicine Incheon hosted a round table conference in June, and invitedrepresentatives from major anchor organizations to discuss cooperation plansfor establishing the K-Bio Lab Hub, and to renew each stakeholder’s commitmenttowards the project.

Furthermore, in the business plan submitted on June 14, Incheon’s strengths werepresented in an organized and logical format to make its argument for the K-BioLab Hub more compelling.

▲Incheon was selected as the optimal location for the new K-Bio Lab Hub based onits strengths, including its global access, locational advantages as ametropolitan city, the presence of several anchor institutions with globalcapabilities, and the ease of supply and demand for bio-industry experts.


Incheon offers several advantages over its competition thanks to its excellentaccess to global markets, locational advantages as a metropolitan city, thepresence of several anchor institutions with global capabilities, and the easeof supply and demand for bio-industry experts.

In its bid for the project, Incheon also emphasized the potential for commercializationthrough clinical trials at local hospitals, such as the Gil Hospital, St. Mary’sHospital, and Inha University Hospital, and further possibilities of attractinginvestments from both Korea and abroad.

To boost its chances of winning the project, Incheon increased its cooperativenetwork to 87 organizations.

▲To boost its chances of winning the K-Bio Lab Pub project, Incheon increasedits cooperative network to 87 organizations. In addition to the 48organizations that signed a memorandum of understanding with Incheon, the CityGovernment entered into collaborative relationships with 39 organizations tosystematically help support bio-startups according to their stage ofdevelopment and position within the value chain.  ​​​​


In addition to the 48 organizations that signed a memorandum of understandingwith Incheon, the City Government entered into collaborative relationships with39 organizations to systematically help support bio-startups according to theirstage of development and position within the value chain.

Moving forward, bio start-ups moving into the Lab Hub will receive extensivesupport from R&D to clinical trials, and commercialization, making iteasier to grow into a unicorn.

Meanwhile, local residents also helped win the bid for the K-Bio Lab Hubproject.

In the offline petition, 110,000 Songdo residents (total population 180,000)signed off in support of the Lab Hub, and more than 1,000 citizens supportingthe project online as well.

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