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Press release by the Ministry of Health and WelfareThe Ministry of Health and Welfare said it held on September 12 a seminar ‘Partnerships in Global Health R&D’ to help assist acceleration of the Korean pharmaceutical industry’s advance into the global new drug and vaccine markets. The global vaccine market is growing robustly at an annual rate of 11 percent since 2010 and expected to reach 114.2 trillion won in 2023 (GB Research), while the Korean vaccine market, which was worth about 700 billion won in 2014, is also fast expanding at an annual rate of 8 percent. The ratio of domestic vaccine supply relative to domestic needs only amounts about 39 percent as of 2016 (based on the type of vaccines), while the nation’s vaccine export only came to 232.7 billion won as of 2015. The market for drugs considered as essential public goods is also projected to grow at an annual average rate of 5 percent to 10 percent, primarily in the Asia-Africa (including Australia) and Latin America (Europe: 1~4%, Japan -1~2%) regions. As such, it is urgently necessary (for Korea) to make investment in development of vaccines and new drugs through strategic alliances with international organization(s) with experience in technology and entry into markets, and network with various health authorities of different countries. Through today’s seminar, the government, international organization(s) such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IVI, and Korean companies discussed ways of global private-public partnerships aimed at accelerating investment in vaccines and new drugs and access to the global market. Notably, the Japan Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) fund model was explained in details, which was followed by in-depth discussions about the establishment of a private-public fund in the form of a matching fund, and about a model of cooperation with non-profit international organizations that assists individual companies, and the entire process ranging from R&D to access to the global market. Vice Health and Welfare Minister Bang Moon-kyu said, “If a ‘Korean style global private-public partnership fund is launched,’ it will not only be able to accelerate development of global vaccines and drugs, and development of related industries, but also to improve the national image through expansion of humanitarian assistance to the public sector vaccine and pharmaceutical market.” He added, “Since officials from the Gates Foundation, IVI and Korean companies have gathered today, I hope that the formation of Korean GHIT be materialized in the near future.” In her congratulatory remarks, Rep. Park In-sook of the ruling Saenuri Party said, “Attention and alert is increasing on infectious diseases of developing countries due to climate change and increased overseas travels, with cholera cases reported in Korea for the first time in 15 years,” adding, “If Korean companies seeking to access the global market can contribute to improving global health and enhance the nation’s international stature through cooperation with international organizations, it will be a smartest strategy for development of the health industry.” In interviews, IVI Director General Jerome Kim, and Andrea Lucard, Vice chief of MMV, said, “We are aware of benefits that global private-public partnerships provide us” stressing, “We hope to see keen attention and proactive participation by Korean companies with potential and the government.” Lee Dong-wook, director-general of the health industry policy at the ministry, said, “Today’s seminar is a follow-up measure for the comprehensive development strategy for the health industry (2016-2020), which was announced on September 9,” adding, “The launch of a Korean style private-public partnership will be the key to achieving the goal of developing 17 global new drugs by 2020,” adding, “When considering the trend of the public sector vaccine market as an emerging market, and unprecedentedly strong interest in Korea from overseas research funds and international organizations including the Gates Foundation, now is the right timing for investment,” urging keen attention and active participation by interested parties in Korea and overseas.
A report from a World Health Organization (WHO) consultation convened on 10-11 December 2015 to develop a roadmap for MERS-CoV research activities was published in Nature Medicine. The meeting gathered leading experts and stakeholders from around the world, including IVI Director General, Jerome Kim, one of the co-authors of the report.The emergence and persistence of MERS-CoV in recent years highlights the need for the rapid development of effective interventions such as diagnostic, prophylactic and therapeutic products. In the aftermath of the 2014-’16 Ebola epidemic and the current Zika virus outbreak, it has become clear that more strategic investments are needed in the early development of interventions against pathogens of pandemic potential. With this in mind, the WHO is developing a blueprint for emergency R&D to prevent the impact of infectious disease outbreaks. MERS-CoV is one of the eight pathogens prioritized in the WHO blueprint and was selected as a case study to assess how research and product development activities could be better supported and coordinated.The report summarizes major topics of discussion at the consultation that included baseline assessment and current knowledge about MERS-CoV epidemiology; diagnostic assay development and standardization; therapeutics; and vaccines. A research and product development roadmap for MERS-CoV was drafted; and priority activities were developed and will be further developed in consultation with funders and stakeholders.In summary, global coordination in response to outbreaks has improved since the Ebola epidemic and there are preclinical candidates in the pipeline for MERS-CoV interventions. However MERS-CoV products will have to be developed more quickly, requiring greater investments by multiple funders for development, manufacturing, preclinical and clinical testing, and efficacy testing in affected populations. Therefore, funders and stakeholders must develop a strategy on how to best target their investments in anticipation of future outbreaks.Read it here:  

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