SEOUL, Dec. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Tuesday it will invest 520 billion won (US$470 million) in biotechnology next year as part of efforts to develop treatment and vaccines for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said the figure represents a 24.9 percent hike from 2020.
The ministry said it will spend 31.7 billion won on COVID-19 treatment and vaccine development next year and 10.2 billion won to acquire technology to respond to new infectious diseases.
For research into new core biotech industries, the ministry will invest 71 billion won to develop new medicine, 61.8 billion won in medical devices, targeting the elderly and the disabled, and 31.1 billion won in regenerative medicine to strengthen research in stem cell technology and others.
The government plans to spend a total 2.2 trillion won on developing new medicine until 2030.
The ministry said it also plans to invest 51.3 billion won to acquire next-generation biotech, such as single-cell analysis.
To treat patients suffering from brain diseases amid the country's rapidly aging population, the ministry will also spend 53.3 billion won on brain-related research.
South Korean biotech and pharmaceutical companies also announced last month a large-scale investment plan to nurture the country's biohealth industry.
Under the plan, 36 pharmaceutical makers and five venture capital firms, including Samsung Biologics Co. and Celltrion Inc., will invest a combined 10 trillion won by 2023 to hone their competitiveness and technological capabilities.
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