May / June 2018

Focused on Education - ISPE Korea Affliate

Mike McGrath

Home to more than 51 million people, South Korea is one of the "Four Asian Tigers," along with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. These countries experienced rapid expansion and high growth rates beginning in the 1960s, developing into highly advanced economies. South Korea's pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in Asia and the 13th largest in the world, with annual sales that are expected to grow from approximately $15.1 billion in 2015 to over $18 billion in 2020.

The ISPE Korea Affiliate currently serves 154 members. Dr. Keerang Park, the affiliate vice president, a professor at Chungbuk Health and Science University, and CEO at CdmoGen Co., Ltd., leads the main office in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province’s largest city. “Our affiliate was founded in 2008, when we had our inaugural meeting,” says Dr. Park. “We have 12 Board members at this time, and have maintained our members for about 10 years now.”

Following a surge of initial growth, the membership has remained relatively stable for the past few years, with representation from industry, academia, and students, as well as a surprising number from the regulatory authority and government—whose participation and support many chapters and affiliates find hard to obtain.

More than 40% of the Korea Affiliate member- ship comes from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), including the affiliate Chair, Dr. Chung Keel Lee. These regulators provide valuable insight and some influence into the country’s pharmaceutical and biomedical plans, which Dr. Park highlights as one of the affiliate’s strengths.

Dr. Park also commented on the unique status of the student membership in the Korea Affiliate. “In the beginning, the affiliate tried to promote student membership through the GMP (good manufacturing practice) training program, which is the strong expertise that we have,” she said. “However, the Korean government has made many GMP education programs available to students, so our effort to promote student membership was not that successful.”

Dr. Keerang Park
Dr. Keerang Park

Affiliate activities are focused on member education. “We try to do two educational sessions each year,” says Dr. Park. “For our session this spring, we are going to invite a global lecturer from ISPE and our topic will be GAMP® 5. For our fall session, we expect to cover biopharmaceuticals, like gene therapy and cell therapy.”

The affiliate has also established a Q&A forum to discuss challenges in the workplace. “Whenever anyone asks a question, our Board members, who are experts in various areas, can provide an answer in an expert way,” says Dr. Park.

Additionally, the affiliate translates selected articles from Pharmaceutical Engineering® into Korean as a benefit to members. “We don’t cover everything, just several articles,” says Dr. Park. “We also translate the guidelines or baselines, but we don’t share those; we only use them for the educational material.”

Looking forward, Dr. Park hopes to further develop the affiliate’s activities and grow membership. “At the moment, we only do two educational sessions; we don’t do any exhibitions or any other activities,” she says. “In Korea, all of the Board members are volunteers who are actively involved in their own work, and so at this moment the two educational sessions are enough for us to prepare.

“Early on, we planned for broader activities for the ISPE affiliate, but it is very difficult to get sponsorship and volunteers,” Dr. Park continues. “But we have to find a solution. Three years ago, our president changed to Dr. Ducksang Kim. He and I expect to participate in the [ISPE] Annual Meeting this year, and we’re trying to find out how to expand our affiliate activities, how to promote more members, how to do more exhibitions or education sessions. But we have to plan carefully. We are considering who is going to help and who is going to sponsor—all of those things. These are the answers we need to find.”

Quick Facts

Founded: 2008
Region: South Korea
Membership: 154


Chair: Chung Keel Lee, PhD, MFDS
President: Ducksang Kim, PhD, Sartorius Korea Ltd.
Vice President: Keerang Park, PhD, Chungbuk Health and Science University
Treasurer: Sungchang Oh, CTCBio Inc.
Secretary: BuSun Kim, SK Chemical Co.
Director of Operations: Young Kou Jeong, Yunsung F&C Co., Ltd.
Director of Sales and Marketing: Man Soo Jeon, Korea GMP Academy
Director of Relations: HeeSoon Chang, PhD, CdmoGen Co., Ltd.
Director of Biotechnology: SangJeom Ahn, (Former) Berna Biotech Korea Corp.
Director of Bioprocessing: Chanhwa Kim, PhD, Biotechnology of Korea University
Director of Government: Chung Keel Lee, MFDS
Director of Pharmaceutical Industry: Jongkuk Kim, BioApplication Inc.
Director of Vendors: Ducksang Kim, PhD, Sartorius Korea Ltd.