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Basel Area – exactly the right chemistry for South Korean pharma companies


KPBMA and Basel Area Business & Innovation establish tailored collaboration to support Korean biopharmaceutical companies to enter the European market.

From left to right: Hee-mok Won, Chairman of KPBMA; Dagmar Schmidt Tartagli, Ambassador-designate at the Swiss Embassy and Bon Oh, Chief Representative of Basel Area. (img: Jung Lyel Ahn)

An accord between business promotion powerhouses: the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA) and Basel Area Business & Innovation with its biotech accelerator BaseLaunch, has been signed to help create a springboard for Korean biopharmaceutical companies to enter European markets.

The consortium will act as a conduit to seek out and channel development opportunities for established pharmaceutical companies and potential startups from the Republic of Korea, with a view to them establishing a base in the Basel Area, Europe’s leading biotech hub.

The three-year agreement was signed recently by the various partners, in the presence of the Swiss Ambassador-designate Dagmar Schmidt Tartagli, at the Embassy of Switzerland, in the Republic of Korea’s capital Seoul.

Ambassador-designate Schmidt Tartagli welcomed the agreement and described it as a reinforcement of the strong political, economic, scientific, and cultural ties that have been developed between Switzerland and the Republic of Korea since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1963.

The Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-pharma Manufacturers Association’s Chairman, Dr. Hee-Mok Won said that KPBMA and the participating companies were looking forward to collaborating with life science companies in the Basel Area. The participating companies of the Swiss Basel Area Business & Innovation KPBMA Customized Program are among the top pharma companies in Korea. These include the Yuhan Corporation, Ildong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Chong Kun Dang pharmaceutical Corp. and Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd.

“I expect to strive for more global open innovation and collaboration, together with KPBMA’s similar efforts in Boston (USA) and other emerging markets,” said the Chairman.

KPBMA writes in their statement: “Basel Area is the base of Europe’s global Big Biopharma, where more than 700 companies and 1,000 research groups are nesting. The R&D investment in the Basel area alone is about $21 billion (about 24 trillion Korean won), equivalent to the overall market size of the domestic pharmaceutical and bio-industry in the Republic of Korea.”

The KPBMA has developed the customized program in conjunction with Basel Area Business and Innovation and its therapeutics accelerator BaseLaunch, to support Korean biopharmaceutical companies wishing to enter the European market.

Europe has an advanced pharmaceutical bio-industry ecosystem, but the infrastructure for Korean pharmaceutical and bio companies to enter the European market was not enough, compared to what we accomplished in the US market. (...) Working with Basel Area Business & Innovation will be a great opportunity to expand the network in Europe, and we will actively support Korean pharma and bio-pharma to go to the European market.

Dr. Hee-Mok WonChairman at KPBMA

So what makes the Basel Area so attractive as a global base camp for Korean companies?

At a macro level, it’s the fact that the Basel Area is in the heartland of Europe, at the apex of the borders of two of the leading European markets of France and Germany. It is home to some of the global pharmaceutical giants like Roche and Novartis, and it provides access to some of Europe’s most prestigious universities and research establishments. It also has a large network of smaller pharma companies and startups willing to partner with international biopharma companies and share their experience in the Basel Area and BaseLaunch community. On logistics, it has first-rate road, rail, and air infrastructure and provides access to European buyers and commodity suppliers.

The five participating bio-pharma companies will benefit from the main components including:

  • Networking for global pharmaceutical companies
  • Discovery and collaboration opportunities with promising European startups
  • Support for industry-academic cooperation with Swiss universities and research institutes
  • Support for establishing a legal entity in Basel Area, including finding offices and R&D center locations.
  • Support for finding ways to export raw materials and finished products into Europe
  • Workspace at the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area

The biopharma industry of Korea is very dynamic and will play a growing role on the global market. We are pleased to be able to support the international ambitions and provide a launchpad for them in the Basel Area.

Dr. Christof KlöpperCEO of Basel Area Business & Innovation

About the program’s Partners:

Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA)
The Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association is the largest pharmaceutical industry organization in Korea, with a membership that includes 174 domestic pharmaceutical firms and 21 multinational corporations. Its goal is to achieve: “improving national healthcare through the sound development of the pharmaceutical industry.” It plays a variety of roles, such as policy-supporting activities, education, and supporting member companies.

Basel Area Business & Innovation and BaseLaunch
Basel Area is a non-profit investment and innovation promotion agency dedicated to helping companies, institutions, and startups find business success in the Basel Area. Since its foundation in 2016, the agency has supported the settlement and foundation of over 150 companies and more than 320 startups. The organization promotes innovation and investment while nurturing expertise in core high-growth industry segments to establish the Basel Area as the Swiss business and innovation hub.

It supports entrepreneurs, SMEs, and established firms by offering startup acceleration, catalyst projects, events, and workshops, as well as collaborative workspaces. It manages the accelerator BaseLaunch for therapeutic innovation, initiated to help launch and grow the next generation of biotech companies.

The organization also manages the Switzerland Innovation Park Basel Area, which comprises four sites, which are the catalysts for innovative development in the SME and startup sector. Currently, around 250 people are working at 65 companies and 14 research groups at the park’s locations.

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