[PANGYO ISSUE] Pangyo Technovalley Weekly News, News from the first week of May

-SK Bioscience to apply for domestic approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, “SKYCovione, GBP510”

SK Bioscience announced on the 29th that it applied for approval of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of its COVID-19 vaccine, “SKYCovione, GBP510.”

The name of the product is finalized as “SKYCovione.” If approved, it will become South Korea’s first COVID-19 vaccine.

SKYCovione is a synthetic antigen Covid-19 vaccine. It received development funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Global pharmaceutical company GSK’s immune-boosting agent was applied, and it was jointly developed with the Antigen Design Research Institute at the University of Washington in the U.S.

SK Bioscience has secured immunogenicity and safety data from phase 3 clinical trials.

Antibodies that induce prevention by neutralizing the infection of COVID-19 when vaccinated twice with SKYCovione were formed at a rate 2.93 times higher than the control vaccine.

The antibody conversion rate (for subjects whose neutralized antibodies have more than quadrupled) when getting SKYCovione vaccination was 98%, more than 10 percentage points higher than the antibody conversion rate of the control vaccine. Even in the elderly aged 65 or older, the antibody conversion rate was 95%. That of the control vaccine was 79 per cent.

SKYCovione will be supplied to countries around the world through “COVAX Facility” after getting domestic approval.

-Genius-Kakao Healthcare to formalize an agreement on health care based on genetic information

Genius, a company specializing in genetic analysis, will join forces with Kakao Healthcare to build an “ultra-personalized health care service.”

Genius announced on the 2nd that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a digital healthcare partnership with Kakao Healthcare. It plans to jointly promote a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) personal genetic diagnosis services and a precision medical artificial intelligence (AI) platform business. Park Woong-yang, CEO of Genius, and Hwang Hee, CEO of Kakao Healthcare, attended the signing ceremony.

Based on genetic data, the two companies plan to jointly carry out health care projects by life cycle. The goal is to present a health care method that is tailored to individuals based on genetic data obtained through DTC tests and individual lifestyle habits.

Genius has a single cell analysis technology that can analyze every single cell and a cancer genome analysis solution. The data of 5,000 Koreans is secured through “health scan,” a medical examination genetic test service for the general public.

Kakao Healthcare, which split off from Kakao in March, is building a mobile-based digital healthcare ecosystem, including efforts to standardize medical data. It plans to support the application of AI technology in the process of developing health care services.

-NHN Edu to attract investments worth 32 billion won… Set out to create metaverse for education

NHN Edu, a subsidiary company of NHN, announced on the 2nd that it attracted investments worth of 32 billion won from Nautic Investment and BNW Investment.

Combined with education and ICT, the education technology that makes improvements and other advancements to educational services is growing rapidly around the world. The global education technology market expenditure is projected to reach 404 billion dollars by 2025.

With these investments, NHN Edu is set out to secure its position as a leading company in education technology. It explains that it will advance its education platform, “I am School,” which has 6.7 million members and gain momentum in the creation and operation of the metaverse for education.

NHN Edu provides services depending on users by dividing “I am School” into a school notification-only service and a community for parents. With a focus on securing loyal customers, schools are also planning to expand exclusive services – from school news to administration – and allow parents to choose services according to their needs.

In addition, NHN Edu is planning to create a virtual cycle of data with an aim of establishing a metaverse platform for education enjoyable for students and reliable for parents and faculty members. It is considering making investments in or acquire outstanding edu tech startups to advance its services.

-Naver Webtoon becomes a platform for 180 million viewers per month in 5 years since its spin-off

Naver Webtoon recorded 180 million monthly active users. It has been five years since the spin-off. At the time of the spinoff in 2017, the company had 46 million users. Annual transactions also increased during the same period. Last year, annual transactions amounted to 1.5 trillion won. It more than quadrupled from about 240 billion won at the time of the spinoff in 2017.

Naver Webtoon explained that it has been expanding its storytech platform model to the global market, which has proven its success in South Korea over the past five years. In particular, he explained that Naver Webtoon’s platform model, which has both an amateur content model that anyone can showcase their works and an original content model that is officially serialized on the webtoon platform, is showing results overseas.

The number of monthly active users (MAU) of the storytech platform built around the world by Naver Webtoon increased from 46 million at the time of the spin-off in 2017 to 180 million as of March 2022. This includes Naver Webtoon (South Korea), Line Webtoon (East Asia), Webtoon (North America, Central America, Europe), and Line Manga (Japan), reaches 82 million.

Naver Webtoon has challenged overseas markets where webtoons were unfamiliar early on and is currently providing services in a total of 10 languages around the world, including the areas of South Korea, Japan, North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. In particular, it overcame cultural barriers by applying amateur promotion systems and contests to each cultural area and continuously identifying local creators to create a local creator ecosystem. About 6 million creators are working on Naver Webtoon’s global platform and Wattpad, and the cumulative number of works has reached 1 billion.

In addition, Naver Webtoon has grown based on the strength of (1) a strong global platform where a number of creators and users communicate (2) a strong business model and (3) Intellectual Property (IP) to secondary and tertiary creations. Therefore, webtoons and web novels have grown into core IPs in the global entertainment market.

Naver Webtoon explained that it has been improving its creative environment by taking the lead in developing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as “AI Painter,” which automatically colors, and “Toon Radar,” which monitors distribution of illegal copies.

Source: Pangyo Techno Valley Official Newsroom