Exploring Korea


two patternsI am the President of Caltech’s Entrepreneurship Club (eClub), and there’s a significant student interest in biotech startups here. As students we’re always trying to educate ourselves, and to learn more about biotech entrepreneurship, I will be reaching out and interviewing people in industry on various topics. My colleagues in the eClub will also be joining me in this learning process.

Before I came to Caltech for my PhD, I studied abroad at Seoul National University in Korea, where I earned a masters and did neuroscience research. The building I was in housed both academic labs and startup companies. Looking back at this arrangement, I am somewhat amazed. This formal cohabitation of academia and industry would be considered entrepreneurially forward at an American university.

It has been a few years, and I think a lot has changed since my time there. I am curious to learn about recent developments in Korean biotech. While outsourcing biotech R&D to China is frequently discussed, less is known about the Korean sector. With the emergence of Korea as a growing contract research organization (CRO) market, the entrance of corporate giants like Samsung Biologics, and the large pool of young scientists there, interesting things should happen. I hope to speak with people in the Korean biotech industry and learn about opportunities and progress there.

Drug discovery is a challenging industry, but there is a lot of grass-roots interest among younger scientists. Biotech has an increasingly international face, and I think there is a lot of exciting news coming out of Korea in this sector.  I look forward to sharing what I learn with Trade Secrets readers.

Gene Kym

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