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In 5 years since its establishment, the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF) has accelerated the national development of new drugs for the global market 09.09.2016

In 5 years since its establishment,

the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF) has accelerated the national development of new drugs for the global market

- Excellent performance includes funding 97 research projects and fostering 14 domestic/overseas technology transfer worth 5 trillion won (fixed-rate).


Over 5 year period of time, the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF) (CEO Sang-Un Joo) put enormous effort to create eco-system for new drug development, including establishing two track support system(Innovation driven, market driven), open innovation based global connect and development program, drug value evaluation projects and so forth.


KDDF was established as a collaborative effort of 3 core ministry in Korea, ‘the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning’, ‘the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’, and ‘the Ministry of Health and Welfare’. It aimed to break down the boundaries between ministries. KDDF consistently pushes ahead with the new business platforms described below to improve the domestic capacity to develop new drugs targeting global markets.


KDDF was established on Sep 2011, and it did not even take one year for KDDF to successfully manage the tech-transfer from bio-venture to well known pharmaceutical company. KDDF supports study-related projects six times a year and has so far received 338 applications, of which 97 have been selected.


Among the projects that have been supported, 14 cases were licensed out (domestic and overseas) and its total deal value is KRW 5 trillion. One example was the project of Hanmi pharmaceutical. After receiving extensive support from KDDF for 40 months, Hanmi made the deal with Sanofi, and the deal value was the highest global wide up until 2015 based on the total down payment.


Acceleration into the World Market

KDDF leads an aggressive campaign to expand domestic infrastructure for new drug development, and substantial results have been achieved since its establishment.


The first objective is to support study-related projects to promote innovation and improve the initiation and efficiency in corresponding studies. KDDF uses bottom-up approach to ensure full participation in creating high-potential technology to address disease as well as developing new drugs. KDDF also operates ‘Joint R&D Program’ with top-down approach to support projects according to demand forecast of global pharmaceutical technology transfer.


The objective of the Joint R&D Program is to promote businesses participation, investment and management in studies through partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies. The intended goal is to license-out technology by promoting the direct involvement of global firms in the initial phase of development. In addition, there is an advantage of having an opportunity to learn advanced business development techniques from global pharmaceutical companies.


As an example, KDDF supported the development of new drugs targeting type II diabetes through a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and this project is currently ongoing through an agreement and continued consultation. Second, a ‘Joint R&D Program’ is currently planned with MSD for anti-cancer agent development. Accordingly, KDDF entered an MOU with MSD last June that is currently under joint development.


In addition, the global C&D program is a new initiative that aims to improve the global technology transfer potential. This initiative intends to introduce quality substances that are currently under study outside of South Korea into domestic research institutes to induce the establishment of research pipelines as well as co-development. A related C&D TECH FAIR was held last year to introduce international trends in new drug development and open innovation activities to the domestic market. This is expected to open a greater number of opportunities to achieve the goal of 10 cases of global technology transfer for KDDF.


In addition, KDDF successfully launched drug evaluation program to assess drug value, produce relevant technical marketing data, analyze strength and weakness of the target drug associated with drug approval information, and operate R&D support. The global technology transfer support program pursues distinctive technology transfer competitiveness through the construction of value added activities in consultation with research institutions. Furthermore, KDDF is developing a strategic knowledge data base for new drug development to help domestic firms understand the prospects in global markets and improve their accessibility to drug development information.


KRW 5 trillion of technology transfer outcomes

The actual outcomes achieved by KDDF are a result of the domestic/overseas technology transfer, inducing a higher level of competitiveness, and creating an increase in awareness for the world market. This has resulted in creating synergy of various efforts to develop new drugs for the global market, as mentioned earlier.


KDDF achieved KRW 5 trillion in outcome through 14 cases of technology transfer over a period of 5 years. Technology in various phases of development at universities, research institutions, bio startup ventures, and pharmaceutical companies have been the subject of domestic/overseas technology transfer, ranging from bridging the technology transfer1) for domestic studies to domestic companies or to global technology transfer (as with Hanmi Pharmaceutical studies last November).


This is an indicator of the global competitiveness of KDDF's study task assessment and support system, demonstrating the competency of KDDF. In fact, the entire assessment system selected its project support by receiving applications, reviewing documents, presenting assessments, conducting on-site inspection, reviewing investment and signing agreements and consultations according to KDDF's in-house assessment index. The overall assessments are conducted at each level by relevant professionals from the field who are selected by the review committee pool to actively improve professionalism and fairness.


Further outcomes of KDDF are also expected by supporting projects to become more competitive. 23 projects have advanced to further trials among the 97 study tasks that have been supported. This is not easy matter since these excellent studies have resulted in new drugs that have been successful in all study levels (clinical and non-clinical), including lead substance searching, candidate substance deduction, etc. The rate of new drug development entering into higher levels is of 34%-85% worldwide, with a consistently decreasing trend due to change in recent regulatory environment. Therefore such outcomes have been evaluated as more significant and meaningful.


Third, the status of KDDF and the value of its supported pipeline in the global market has gradually increased. To promote excellent domestic studies in the world market, KDDF has participated in the Bio International Convention since 2012 to actively promote its supporting study tasks and to consistently put an effort to expand the global network by participating in various international exhibitions and meetings.


Sang-Un Joo, the CEO of the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF) said 'KDDF was established as the first national policy model and has achieved significant outcomes over 5 years, including quantitative results in terms of technology transfer, reaching later phases of research, and networking with global pharmaceutical companies to produce an organizational system to improve domestic development of new drugs.


He added “KDDF is characterized as flexible operation with definite aim awareness' and indicated that 'South Korea is expected to develop as a new drug power with global competitiveness in the short term on top of its rich history and great outcomes, if KDDF is firmly established as the center of a cooperative relationship between industry, academia, and other associations and political groups”.




1) It has significant meaning in bridging the role of universities, medium-sized ventures, pharmaceutical companies, global pharmaceutical firms. Such technology transfer outcomes are the result of the maximization of connectivity of new drug development stages with no discontinuity in order to attain global technology transfer.




Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF),

is a cross-ministry, full-cycle and government-initiated R & D business entity that supports new drug development beyond the boundaries of R & D. It was established by the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to promote new drug development projects for global markets. Its aim is to have at least 10 new drugs developed and to advance the strategic investment platform for new drug R & D investment targeting global market.