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R&D Investment

“We are continuously investing in Korea to invigorate R&D activities!”

Global pharmaceutical companies are steadily increasing their R&D-related investments in Korea to develop and supply new drugs. Through such efforts, they are con­tributing to improve people's health and enhance R&D capabilities.

Expansion of Opportunities for Accessibility to New Drugs

Global pharmaceutical companies are taking the lead in conducting clinical studies that aim to provide the opportunity for treatment and the hope of a complete recovery for patients who do not have many therapy methods available. Clinical studies contribute to the treatment of patients by not only providing critically ill patients with the opportunity to access new drugs quickly, but also by reducing the cost of treatment at both the individual and national level.

Clinical Trials and R&D Investment in Korea

As the global pharmaceutical market grows, pharmaceutical companies' R&D investments are also increasing. The 35 global pharmaceutical companies invested 483.7 billion won toward clinical R&D activities in 2019. The number of clinical studies completed in 2019 was 1,536 cases.

Total cost of R&D (Unit: KRW Billion)


KRPIA 2016~2019 R&D Status Survey (27 companies)

The Cost of Clinical Trial Drugs

As the number of clinical studies of global pharmaceutical companies has increased, the cost of clinical trial drugs has also increased by 21.7 percent from 106 billion won in 2016 to 129.9 billion won in 2017. Moreover, for clinical research purposes companies are giving medicines free of charge to domestic patients, giving them new treatment opportunities.

Increased Clinical Trials on Cancer and Rare Disease

Among all clinical studies conducted by 35 global pharmaceutical companies in 2019, 55% (666 cases) and 4.7% (57 cases) were found to account for more than 60% of clinical research for patients with cancer and rare diseases. These numbers demonstrate that clinical trials of the global pharmaceutical companies are contributing to early access to new treatment options for cancer patients and rare disease patients.

Contributions to Creating R&D Jobs in Korea

Global pharmaceutical companies are investing a tremendous amount of money to en­hance the global capabilities of the research infrastructure of the domestic pharmaceu­tical industry. These investments are creating high-value jobs for researchers, offering opportunities for doctors and domestic pharmaceutical companies to develop research skills, and supporting efforts in research and development.

Increased R&D Researchers of Global Pharmaceutical Companies in Korea

R&D workforce of global pharmaceutical companies also increased. The total number of R&D workers at 35 companies that participated in the survey increased steadily to 1,702 in 2019. Global pharmaceutical companies are making contributions to creating jobs for high-quality researchers in Korea.

The number of researchers (Unit: people)


KRPIA 2016~2019 R&D Status Survey (27 companies)

Promoting the Opportunity for Global Empowerment

Global pharmaceutical companies have continued to collaborate with domestic pharmaceutical companies, domestic medical institutions and research organs for the growth and development of domestic pharmaceutical industry.

Continued R&D cooperation for the growth and development of domestic pharmaceutical industry

Global pharmaceutical companies have concluded a master clinical trial agreement with major clin­ical trial institutions in Korea to promote global clinical trials, and are conducting various clinical trial stages for multiple diseases with Korean organizations such as MFDS (Ministry of Health and Welfare), KRICT(Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology), KDDF(Korea Drug Development Fund), and KHIDl(Korea Health Industry Development Institute).

In addition, the global pharmaceutical companies and KOTRA(Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) built and operated the incubating platform to help domestic medical and bio startups advance into the global market. In doing so, KRPIA continue to seek cooperation to help improve domestic research capabilities and research staff's global competitiveness.


KRPIA 2016/2017 R&D Status Survey