4, 2002 (San Diego Business Journal) - South Korean delegates
got a warm reception from local venture capitalists, public relations
executives and community leaders who could benefit from that nation's
planned $7 million investment in a biotechnology park in Carlsbad.
South Korean political leaders and representatives of 25 South
Korean-based biotechnology startups toured Carlsbad on Feb. 26
and concluded their two-day visit with a reception hosted by the
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. in Downtown San
Williams, assistant secretary for the state's Technology, Trade
and Commerce Agency, said it's too early to say whether the South
Korean plan will come to fruition, but he is hopeful.
wanted to give them a chance to talk to people about the potential
for any business opportunities that would bring foreign investment
to California," Williams said.
According to the agency, the South Korean government has set aside
$380 million to establish 600 biotechnology-related ventures by
the end of 2003 with a focus in the areas of genetic engineering,
proteomics and bioinformatics. By 2010, the government investment
is likely to grow to $1.8 billion.
Carlsbad, the South Korean government is looking to create what
they dubbed as "Korea BioValley," a business incubator to explore
research collaborations and technology. transfer deals with San
Diego-based institutions and companies, the agency reported.
Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom, the local industry association
for the life science companies, applauds the South Korean government
for taking the lead in what would become the first foreign-sponsored
biotech park in San Diego.
still unclear how the South Koreans plan to invest the $7 million,
he said. Panetta said $7 million is not enough cash to get a biotech
park up and running. He speculated the South Koreans are more
likely to buy into home-grown technologies and sign deals to enhance
their own drug discovery efforts.
Park, director of the licensing team of Pohang, Kyungbuk-based
GenoMine, envisions a local office to do just that.
whose firm manipulates genes to delay the flowering process in
plants, said he took the opportunity to discuss potential partnerships
with the La Jolla-based research unit of Syngenta, a Swiss agricultural
need an office in San Diego to collect information on technology
transfers and explore marketing opportunities," Park concluded.
people, however, worry that the advancement of South Korean interests
could hurt rather than help the local biotechnology industry.
McLean, Va.-based Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive,
warned in an online report that South Korea's plan is part of
a strategy to steal intellectual property. According to a spokesman,
the office is an independent federal agency.
move to establish a high-tech 'liaison center' among the U.S.
biotech industry parallels its successful efforts some five years
earlier to comb Silicon Valley for information technology, a field
where South Korea now enjoys some commanding leads," the counterintelligence
media contact from the counterintelligence office said he wouldn't
have anything more to say than what can be found on its Web site.
local officials dismissed the implications of the report.
said biotechnology companies are by nature protective of their
intellectual property, which is their livelihood.
Meier Wright, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp.,
which promotes economic growth through biotechnology investment,
described the report as being "unfair."
said California has some $100 billion in foreign investment and
a significant amount of that money benefits biotechnology growth.
visiting South Korean delegates, many of whom had heard about
the report, focused their energy instead on establishing good
Moon Hi Han, president and CEO of Proteogen and chairman of the
South Korean delegation, told the audience at the reception: "We
come here with goodwill and try to explore business opportunities
with U.S. partners."
W. Rabin, president of KWR International Inc., a New York-based
consulting firm for Asian-related clients, said South Korea realized
it can't grow its economy from home.
said South Korea's ongoing investments in the high-tech and biotech
sectors are part of a strategy to move their economy from low-cost
production to value-driven products.
Korea has done lots of IT-related research and looks to do biotech
as one area where they can establish and retain economic competitiveness
on the value side," Rabin said.
order to do that, they need a U.S. presence. San Diego, with its
diverse technology base and intellectual prowess, offers South
Korean early-stage companies a much-needed platform.
looks to Syngenta to lift his functional genomics research to
the next level, but merely chuckled when asked about the report.
a joke -- if we were spies we wouldn't give the American companies
information about our companies -- we want synergism."
2002 CBJ, L.P.