Pohang Poised to Emerge as Global Vaccine Hub


Pohang is poised to become a global vaccine hub. KHUB Science Park is set to be established in Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province with bioindustry R&D facilities for vaccine development and more. According to Pohang City Government, KHUB Science Park is a non-profit public interest research foundation led by Chong-Yoon Lim, President of Hanmi Pharmaceutical, and it will purchase a site in Pohang Penta City in the first half of this year. KHUB Science Park is being designed in conformance with the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for the production of an mRNA vaccine currently being discussed with a bioventure of a British university and a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine from BioApp, a company specializing in green vaccines based in Pohang. Once KHUB Science Park is established, the blueprint of the KHUB Vaccine Consortium project in Pohang Penta City will be completed. The consortium is aiming to become a global vaccine hub for mRNA vaccines, etc., with the participation of Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group, COREE, Dx&Vx, BioApp, Herings, GS Neotek, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Global Infectious Disease Research Institute of Seoul National University College of Medicine, Hanyang University Life Science and Technology Institute, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Pohang City, etc. This is a tangible result achieved in two years after Hanmi Science, the holding company of Hanmi Pharmaceutical, signed an MOU on a KRW 300 billion investment with Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, Pohang City, and Daegu Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone Authority in 2020. KHUB Science Park will be equipped with research and production facilities and facilities for human resources training necessary to secure public goods such as raw materials for vaccines and diagnostic devices. There are plans to form a global partnership with the UK, a leader in the global vaccine country, and establish a bio, vaccine, and healthcare research and production base in Pohang. Chong-Yoon Lim, President of Hanmi Pharmaceutical, said, “The KHUB Science Park will be a vaccine hub meeting the international standards capable of performing all the functions of the vaccine industry, from education and research to clinical trials and production. [...] We will contribute to the establishment Pohang in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, which has world-class R&D infrastructure including POSTECH and synchrotron radiation accelerator, as a global vaccine hub by presenting a best case of a public project characterized by cooperation among the industry, academia, research institutes, and government agencies and by pursuing balanced regional development, which has emerged as a national issue.” Pohang City expects this project to have a significant ripple effect on Pohang’s bio-health industry ecosystem. Pohang boasts excellent bio-research infrastructure such as POSTECH Biotechnology Research Center, Artificial Intelligence Research Center, and Advanced Bio Convergence Center at Pohang Technopark, in addition to state-of-the-art facilities such as Pohang Light Source, Pohang Accelerator Laboratory X-ay Free-electron Laser, and cryogenic electron microscopes necessary for vaccine and new drug development. The Bio Open Innovation Center (BOIC) was completed in 2020, followed by the Pohang Knowledge Industry Center, Institute of Membrane Proteins, and Change Up Ground last year and the Green Vaccine Demonstration Support Center this year. As such, the city is equipped with industry-university cooperative infrastructure with spaces for promising bio-health enterprises and R&D equipment. Pohang Mayor Lee Gang-deok said, “By nurturing excellent healthcare professionals through the establishment of a research-oriented medical college and digital hospital, along with the establishment of KHUB Science Park, greater synergy is expected by linking research, clinical trials, and commercialization. [...] It will be a great turning point in overcoming national crises such as the desertion of rural areas and realizing balanced regional development by creating jobs in various fields and attracting young people.” Source: Daily Newspaper