South Korean startup biotechs gain government, banking funding lift

New life science firms hoping to get off the ground in South Korea will be able to receive extra funding help as the government has announced plans to boost more startups.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Center for Creative Economy and Innovation in Seoul have joined forces to support early-stage biotechs in an effort to help their global export potential.

The state-run export financing bank said in a statement that it would provide "financial consulting" to Korean startups while the innovation center will do its part by helping and recommending startups to the Korea Eximbank for financial support.

Moon June-shik (left), Export-Import Bank of Korea executive director, and Park Yong-ho (right), director at the Center for Creative Economy and Innovation, pose for a photo--Courtesy of Eximbank

"The bank will financially support startups in the fields of cosmetics, biotechnology and fashion that could further boost Korean exports and create jobs," Moon June-shik, executive director of the Korea Eximbank, at the signing ceremony in Seoul this week, according to the Korea Herald.

This comes nearly a year after a startup incubating center was launched in Seoul--with the support from the Seoul government and CJ Group--as the country looks increasingly toward its burgeoning life science sector as being a key economic growth driver.

The country hopes to build on the recent successes of its small but growing native life science firms Hanmi Science and biosimilar maker Celltrion. Both have recently been touted as leading the charge for the country's pharma sector and currently enjoy market caps approaching $9 billion--while also spending heavily on R&D.

- see the Korea Herald's take