First Sod Cut for Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC)
– Genexine, ASU, and over 20 pharmaceutical institutes to move into the BOIC
– Initiative launched to build the first Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute in Korea
POSTECH cut the first sod on the site of the new Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC) on February 26, 2019. The BOIC, an innovation platform for academia-industry collaboration on new drug research, is one of POSTECH’s signature initiatives to drive the regional development as in line with its vision of becoming a Value Creating University.
The groundbreaking ceremony for BOIC was held in attendance of more than 200. The guests included POSTECH president Doh-Yeon Kim, economic vice governor of Gyeongbuk province, mayor of Pohang, local member of the National Assembly (Mr. Myoung-Jae Park), president of Genexine, POSCO officials, and representatives of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
POSTECH, Pohang city, and Genexine have made a joint investment in the BOIC with the aim of developing it into a new drug industry base. They anticipate that the BOIC will boost the tri-sector collaboration on new drug research, bringing the academia, industry, and research institutes closer. It will also lay the foundation for a regional industry ecosystem through incubating biotech startups and attracting firms and research institutes. Genexine, one of the co-investors, is widely known as a successful model of a biotech venture company. The once nascent startup, founded by POSTECH professor Young-Chul Sung, has now grown into a Korea’s leading pharmaceutical company.
Along with domestic and overseas bio companies and research institutes set to move in, the BOIC is to be equipped with a new drug development pilot plant that supports the testing and production of new drug candidates. A project bureau for the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute (CMPRI) will also settle in the BOIC.
The establishment of the BOIC has been of great importance in POSTECH’s efforts to contribute to the regional development. It will serve as the focal point for developing the high value-added pharmaceutical industry and attracting enterprises with new job opportunities.
Gyeongbuk province and Pohang city are, likewise, taking the lead in the investment for this initiative and adding momentum to bringing in business from home and abroad, encouraging entrepreneurship, and training bio experts. They are hoping that these movements will ultimately lead to a boost in job creation in the region.
As part of the BOIC groundbreaking ceremony, the CMPRI project bureau kicked off on the same day with an inauguration ceremony. This project is one of the core schemes for new drug research pivoted on the PAL-XFEL.
At the inauguration, POSTECH, Gyeongbuk province, Pohang city, and POSCO signed a Memorandum of Understanding and agreed to support the establishment and management of the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute. The ceremony was followed by the unveiling of the signboard of the Institute and announcing the appointment of Professor Jie-Oh Lee of Life Sciences as the head of the project. Professor Lee, listed in the top 100 rising influential Koreans, is a domestic authority in the field of cell membrane protein.
The Cell Membrane Protein Institute will use the PAL-XFEL, the 4th generation light source, to identify the structure of the cell membrane protein and derive candidate substances of new drug. Despite the fact that cell membrane proteins account for over 60% of the causes of diseases, the examination and analysis of their biostructure still largely remain an unsolved problem due to the complexity. The Institute, for that reason, is expected to provide a breakthrough for Korea’s new drug industry and help rise in the global market that has reached 1,500 trillion KRW.
Doh-Yeon Kim said, “Pohang has achieved incredible development based on the steel industry represented by POSCO, but now it is time to take a second leap. As a Value Creating University, POSTECH hopes to lead the betterment of Gyeongbuk province and Pohang city hand in hand with BOIC.”