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Pangyo Biotech Startups Enjoy Green Light for Global Expansion in New Drug Development

View of Pangyo Techno Valley, where bio ventures are gathered (Photo = beSUCCESS)

Opening ceremony for Markherz's entry into the European market (Photo: Markherz)

Image courtesy of Rznomics

PANGYO, SOUTH KOREA, November 29, 2023 / -- On November 24th, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced plans to invest over KRW 250 billion in the field of biotech health through K-Bio and Vaccine Funds, managed by Yuanta Investment, Premier Partners, InterVest, and Korea Investment Partners, starting in 2024. (Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare -

The funds, with a total size of KRW 2,616.3 billion, are scheduled to be finalized within 2023, commencing full-scale investments in early 2024 and spanning four years. The investments will focus on areas such as innovative new drug development, vaccine sovereignty, clinical trials, innovative platforms, and vaccine technologies.

Amid the growing interest in the K-bio industry in 2024, Pangyo Techno Valley, the country’s leading bio cluster and innovative R&D cluster, is already active in developing new drugs and treatments. Pangyo bio startups Markherz, Rznomics, and ARBORMED have been recognized in the global market this year.

Markherz (CEO Lee Seung-min) specializes in AAV gene therapy for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The venture collaborates with global companies and institutions to establish a production platform for full-cycle gene therapy development. In July 2023, Markherz was selected as an entry company for the Global Business Center (GBC) of the Small and Medium Business Administration and set up a base for European expansion in Frankfurt, Germany.

Markherz plans to leverage this foothold to establish a clinical research network and improve the success rate of its genetic solutions for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in the European market.

Rznomics (CEO Lee Sung-wook) is a representative bio venture in Pangyo Techno Valley that focuses on RNA-based bio new drug development. In October 2023, Rznomics was selected as one of the 50 outstanding small and medium-sized enterprises for technological development by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. The selection, which recognizes innovation and qualitative advancement in technology development and promotes the commercialization of excellent technology development, was introduced for the first time in 2023. (*Source:

This project is part of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups’ initiative, which selects 50 outstanding companies in four categories based on technology development success, support from the ministry over the past five years, performance verification, and expert evaluation. The categories include 30 companies with excellent business performance, such as cumulative sales from technology development projects; 6 companies achieving world-class technological capabilities in the national strategic technology sector; 7 companies successfully overcoming challenges such as technology theft and management crises for a fresh start; and 7 innovative product companies contributing to public service improvement in areas like industrial safety.

Furthermore, the anticancer drug ‘RZ-001 (development code)’ received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November, adding more strength to its global expansion efforts. RZ-001, developed by Rznomics, applies the ribonucleic acid (RNA) substitution enzyme platform technology and, through Fast Track designation, is eligible for expedited review and approval if specific criteria are met. This designation also allows for a sequential review of each data area during the drug approval process, providing an advantage in the data review process. (*Source:

ARBORMED (Co-CEOs Park Gyo-jin, Im Won-bin) is developing a treatment for the rare disease Wilson’s disease called ‘ARBM-101.’ In July 2023, ARBORMED presented the research results of ‘ARBM-101’ at a European conference. Additionally, ARBM-101 is manufactured in Kansas City, USA, and is planning clinical trials in the United States with the goal of FDA approval.

The establishment of the K-Bio-Vaccine Fund is expected to stimulate investment in the biotech and health sectors, providing significant support for the growth and international expansion of domestic biotech companies. With this, it is hoped that not only will the domestic biotech industry advance, but it will also serve as an opportunity for the bio startups in Pangyo Techno Valley to grow into global enterprises.

Vallabh Rao
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