|Title||Start-Ups Launching with Government-Funded Research Institutes’ Original Technologies (January 10, 2021)|
Start-Ups Launching with Government-Funded Research Institutes’ Original Technologies
KIST announced that it has established three technology investment companies: Txinno BioScience (CEO: Mr. Chan Sun Park), Biosonics (CEO: Mr. Kyung-sik Shin), and Medicaretec (CEO: Mr. Eun-yong Jeon) as a result of the Ministry of Science and ICT’s “Biostar Project,” a national research project created to encourage the launch of start-ups. It is meaningful that these three preliminary start-up teams, established with assistance from private investment institutions, have been able to create steadily evolving start-up technologies and other items, owing to the support of the public, prospective entrepreneurs, and private experts.
To achieve such results, KIST hired outside experts familiar with the bio industry as researchers during the business phase of the Ministry of Science and ICT’s Biostar Project’s implementation, and established an infrastructure to focus on start-up activities. In terms of R&D, researcher matching and spaces for conducting research as well as offices and research facilities were provided. Regarding the provision of equipment and commercialization, the companies received two-track support for patent portfolio establishment, start-up team building, business and investment planning, marketing strategies, and trademark application and registration.
CEO of Txinno, Mr. Chan Sun Park, who had been selected as an outside expert for the project, has developed anti-cancer drugs with Dr. Seojung Han of the Chemical Kinomics Research Center at KIST. Dr. Ji-Yoon Kang of Biosonix developed an early diagnosis kit for Alzheimer’s with Dr. Chun-woo Kim of KIST’s Center for Healthcare Robotics. At the same time, as a result of support for commercialization activities which includes putting together a portfolio of start-ups, building start-up teams, and organizing business plans and investment attraction strategies, the three start-ups were able to successfully acquire a KRW 33 billion investment from the Hongneung Innopolis Fund, the first fund to specialize in S&T start-ups. Operated by K-Ground Ventures, the fund is a joint venture by KIST, universities in the Hongneung area, SMEs, and the local government.
In addition, KIST has set several other goals, including improving the system, fostering direct commercialization through cooperation with private experts, and increasing performance from a long-term perspective. ImagoWorks, established on November 19, attracted KRW 3.6 billion in Series A investments from top-tier domestic investment institutions. This attempt at direct commercialization can be seen as a shift in paradigms from the existing technology transfer method (one-off, supplier-centered) to one in which contributors, start-ups, and private investment institutions together share the responsibility for corporate growth.
The CEO of Txinno, Mr. Park, said “we experienced many hardships as an early-stage company while preparing to start a business and carry out the Biostar Project, but we were able to achieve good results thanks to KIST’s active support, and plan to commercialize additional technologies.”
KIST President, Dr. Seok-Jin Yoon, stated, “In 2021, we will focus on utilizing KIST’s start-up support programs and capabilities to launch a new model of Korean start-up ecosystem, and further develop Hongneung as an innovative cluster that will drive the future for the bio and medical industries through cooperation with local and private investment institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and research institutes.”
KIST designated the Hongneung Innopolis in August of last year and formed a cluster Hongneung Fund centered on key technology institutions (KIST, Kyung Hee University, and Korea University) and promoted Hongneung Investment Agency Consultative Body (Participation was made by many domestic investment institutions in order to support for commercialization.)
KIST is also pushing to establish an ecosystem for start-ups. Plans include internships for start-up education and audition-style start-up competition screenings by investment institutions, mentor matching for preliminary start-up teams to prepare for the launch of a start-up academy, which will support investment in start-up companies, marketing activities, and start-up support projects.
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