The construction of Bio Open Innovation Center begins
POSTECH declared its vision and initiatives as a value creating university in 2016. Following its vision, POSTECH will establish Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC) to directly contribute to the regional development of Pohang City and its construction will begin in February of 2020.
BOIC is expected to support academia-industry research on development of new drugs. Jointly invested by POSTECH, Pohang City, and Genexine, BOIC is to be a research base for new pharmaceuticals, creating an industrial ecosystem of new pharmaceuticals in the region by attracting corporations and research centers and incubating biotech startups. One of the investors of this center, Genexine, is widely known as a successful model of a biotech venture company that has grown into a nation’s leading pharmaceutical company.
The center will be equipped with a pilot plant for new drug development that can pilot produce and support commercialization of drug candidates. Both domestic and international biotech companies and research institutes will be resided as well as a project bureau for the Cell Membrane Protein Research Institute (CMPRI).
POSTECH has put vast efforts in establishing BOIC to contribute to the regional development with a hope that it will not only promote high value-added pharmaceutical industry but also attract corporates and thus create new job opportunities.
Moreover, Gyeongbuk Province and Pohang City will also take the lead in the investment for this initiative. They expect that it will attract companies from home and abroad, encourage startups to launch and foster biotech experts which all eventually lead to job creation in the region.
Relating to one of the residents in the center, the project bureau for establishing CMPRI which is a key project for the development of new drugs using synchrotron radiation accelerator.
About 35% of proteins in the human body are cell membrane proteins and they cause over 60% of all major disease. However, it was difficult to analyze its biostructure for the development of new drugs due to its incredibly small size. The 4th generation light source operating at POSTECH has 1,000 times and more intensity of light than the conventional 3rd generation light source. This will help understand the mechanism of this type of protein at the levels of molecules and atoms.
Therefore, CMPRI, jointly established by POSTECH, Gyeongbuk Province, Pohang City, and POSCO, will use the 4th generation light source, to identify the structure of the cell membrane proteins and select drug candidates.
In this regard, the institute is expected to provide a breakthrough for the new drug industry of Korea and help rise in the global market that has reached 1,500 trillion KRW.
To accomplish this goal, the University invited the leading expert in the field of cell membrane proteins, Professor Jie-Oh Lee from KAIST and appointed him as the head of CMPRI project. He received his doctoral degree from Harvard University and is an influential scholar in the nation, listed in the top 100 rising influential Koreans.
President Doh-Yeon Kim of the University said, “Pohang has achieved incredible economic development based on the steel industry represented by POSCO, but now it is time to take the second leap. As a value creating university, POSTECH hopes to lead the advancement of Gyeonbuk Province and Pohang City with BOIC.”