The government has announced the top 10 key technologies aimed at propelling South Korea to become the 5th largest exporter of medical devices, with an estimated medical device export value of approximately 21 trillion won by 2027. The selection includes groundbreaking medical devices that are expected to be developed for the first time globally, as well as initiatives focused on domesticating imported medical devices, addressing public health and social issues. The government plans to continuously foster future growth opportunities by unveiling 10 representative projects each year.
On the 23rd, the Medical Device Research and Development Project Group held the "2023 Performance Report Conference" at The Westin Chosun Seoul hotel, where they announced the top 10 representative projects. This performance report conference, which was jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, marked its first occurrence since the establishment of the task force.
Kim Beob-min, the head of the task force, explained, "Since its establishment, we have built a support system as a platform to enhance the success rate of medical device research and development (R&D) and generate excellent results by providing support for various research projects. We will actively communicate with researchers and promote the commercialization of medical devices." He added, "The leading projects selected each year may involve technologies that have been previously selected, as well as new technologies."
The selected representative projects are expected to play a pivotal role in achieving the government's goal of becoming the 5th largest exporter of medical devices, which was set by Yoon Seok Yeol government. In February of this year, the government announced plans to expand the medical device export value from approximately 8.6 billion dollars in 2021 to 16 billion dollars by 2027, positioning South Korea as a leading exporter in the field.
The 10 projects announced include promising fields such as medical imaging diagnosis, in vitro diagnostics, dental technology, and digital health. Among them, three projects are anticipated to win the world's first title.
Director Kim stated, "We selected these projects based on evaluations considering the appropriateness of research and development execution, technological and medical aspects, as well as the socio-economic ripple effects, out of a total of 869 achievements submitted by 90 organizations."
The followings are the top 10 medical device projects, the institutions involved, and their development status that have been underway since 2020.
Development of Brain PET System and Integrated Molecular Imaging Platform to Overcome Neurodegenerative Brain Diseases
Brightonix Imaging aims to domestically produce medical device by developing brain PET system targeting neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's disease. Currently, for the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly, the combination of computed tomograhy (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is essential. However, this technology visualizes functional changes in the brain using PET only for disease diagnosis. Brightonix Imaging received the Korean Innovation Sartup Award by the Minister of Science and ICT. The project runs from September 1, 2020, to December 31, 2025, with government funding of 11.66 billion won.
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