- Yonsei Professor Baik Lin Seong to Lead $174 Million Government-led Vaccine Research Project April 09, 2020
R&D project for domestic vaccine technology to combat infectious diseases including COVID-19
Baik Lin Seong, Professor of Biotechnology at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, will lead a 215 billion won (174 million USD) government-initiated project to support research to develop domestic vaccines for infectious diseases including tuberculosis and COVID-19.
Announced by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare on April 2, 2020, the ministry will launch a project to develop technologies to commercialize vaccines, including preventative vaccines for major infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis A and hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and new infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
Jointly designed by the ministry and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the project will launch this July with funding of 215.1 billion won (174.1 million USD), which would be issued sequentially until 2029. The Yonsei University-Industry Foundation group, headed by Professor Baik Lin Seoung, was chosen to lead the project.
“Although vaccines are known as the most cost-effective solution to infectious disease, they require a long development period and so have limitations when responding to ‘hit-and-run’ types of viruses such as COVID-19,” remarked Professor Seong. “Amidst such an urgent crisis, establishing a safe, commercialized vaccine platform has become a crucial issue among countries around the world. As a biotechnologist, I will take on my duties with diligence to develop effective vaccines in response to the needs of the nation.”
The project will oversee R&D activities throughout the entire cycle of vaccine development, from discovering drug candidates to clinical trials. Also, the project will research the production process and manufacturing of samples for clinical trials to promote vaccine development and production within the country. In particular, the ministry announced that the project would continue R&D work for candidate substances for a COVID-19 vaccine and support follow-up research for non-clinical and clinical trials.
“The global community is currently in World War III against viruses,” said Professor Seong. “New 'military materials' will be developed, which in this case would be preventative vaccines and related biological products. Industries will emerge and expand in response to the global pandemic through this new project, and I believe that South Korea will play a leading role.”
Professor Seong will bring extensive experience to his new appointment. He has held positions at the KCDC to strengthen R&D activities for the interagency infectious disease response, as well as the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety for the national project to support vaccine commercialization technology. He also served as the head of the Vaccine Translational Research Center of the Ministry of Health and Welfare and is currently an active member of the Infrastructure Project for Global Industrialization of Vaccine (IPOGIV) of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.