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    Development of Pharmaceutical Industry Is Up To Contract Research Organization (CRO) Industry


    -  Domestic pharmaceutical companies also outsource clinical trials to foreign institutions... it is desperate to secure support for the industry to accumulate know-how in Korea and export new drugs -

    It has been argued that in order to enhance the competitiveness of Korean pharmaceutical industry development and to export pharmaceuticals and technologies, it is necessary to focus on fostering the Contract Research Organizations (CRO).


    CRO refers to a specialized institution that pharmaceutical companies outsource clinical trial design, consultation, data management, and permission in order to reduce the cost in the course of developing new drugs.


    According to a report titled Contract Research Organization (CRO) Related Service Market Status and Overseas Expansion Plan issued by the Institute for International Trade (President: Shin Seung-kwan) of the Korea International Trade Association on March 18th, the CRO industry in Korea grew remarkably by 11.5 percent annually from 294.1 billion won in 2014 to 455.1 billion won in 2018. During the same period, the sales of Korean CROs also increased by an annual average of 21.1 percent and expanded the domestic market share, which had been dominated by foreign CROs, from 33.3 percent in 2014 up to 46.3 percent in 2018.


    Thanks to this, exports of the bio-service sector, such as clinical trials and pharmaceutical contract manufacturing led by Korean CROs, have shown impressive growth trajectory of 36.3 percent every year from 339.8 billion won in 2016 to 631.3 billion won in 2018. In addition, the exports of new drug technologies from the domestic pharmaceutical industry also increased from 2.31922 billion dollars in 2016 to 3.96040 billion dollars in the first half of 2019, reaching a turning point of becoming the country with sophisticated pharmaceutical industry. 


    However, despite those growths, Korean pharmaceutical industry’ global market share remains at 1.2 percent and that of Korean CRO industry stays at 3.2 percent.


    The report stated, Since 2000, global CROs have entered into the Asian and Korean markets in earnest, and Korean pharmaceutical companies have preferred foreign CROs considering overseas expansion of new drugs, and pointed out, "When using a foreign CRO, problems such as high cost burden compared to using a Korean CRO and the risks of new drug technology, data, and research and development (R & D) know-how leakage may emerge."


    Furthermore, the report said, In order to accumulate new drug development experiences and know-how in Korea and to enhance the country’s competitiveness, it is required to actively encourage cooperation between Korean pharmaceutical companies and Korean CROs," and advised, "It is necessary to prepare the foundation for support policies by establishing the CRO industry within the Standard Industrial Classification and stating CRO industry through the revision of the laws related to the pharmaceutical industry and foster professionals.


    Lee Jin-hyung, a senior researcher at the Institute for International Trade of the Korea International Trade Association, said, If collaboration within the industry is efficiently conducted through CRO industry support, it will be a successful case of synergy creation through the convergence of manufacturing and service. He also mentioned, CRO is not only a promising industry for the next generation, but also should be fostered by the government in order to be prepared for the future epidemics such as COVID-19.



    Development of Pharmaceutical Industry Is Up To Contract Research Organization (CRO) Industry
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