Korean group enlists WCCT to spur drug development

The Korea Drug Development Fund has recruited another CRO to kick-start drug development in South Korea, signing a deal with WCCT Global to help local producers get products into the U.S.

Neither group disclosed financial terms, but the agreement follows a similar one KDDF struck with Parexel ($PRXL) over the summer. The South Korean group is funded by a consortium of government ministries, and it has about $1 billion in its coffers to spend on drug development, aiming to produce 10 new treatments by 2019.

WCCT's role is to unite South Korean and U.S. research institutions, helping South Korean companies develop treatments for the American market, CEO Kenneth Kim said in a statement. "We see this as another great bridge to playing a partnering role and becoming the country caretaker for work brought to the U.S., as well as serving as a conduit for out-licensed compounds to Korean pharmaceutical companies," Kim said.

Right now, KDDF has identified 16 candidate therapies through its development program, and the partnerships with WCCT and Parexel are designed to speed along the process of getting them tested, approved and marketed around the globe, the group said.

All this comes as South Korea has taken center stage in the outsourcing world. The number of clinical trials conducted there more than doubled from 2006 to 2009, and CROs like Icon, INC Research and Catalent Pharma Solutions have recently looked to partner and expand in the country.

- read WCCT's release

Special Report: South Korea -- Top Emerging CRO Markets

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