Kolon Industries partners with Hanyang University to develop gene therapy technology

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : January 5, 2023, 16:00 Updated : January 30, 2023, 08:03

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SEOUL -- A biotechnology research center specializing in age-related diseases partnered with Hanyang University in Seoul to carry out research and development projects for gene therapy. Through collaborations, the research center affiliated with Kolon Industries, a chemical textile manufacturing company in South Korea, will also play the role of an incubator for prominent young biotechnology researchers. 

Age-associated diseases include Parkinson's disease, arthritis, osteoporosis and sarcopenia. According to data released by Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization, the domestic biomedical market that stood at 998.3 billion won ($785 million) in 2021 will reach 40.2 trillion won in 2026. Gene therapy treats various types of diseases by modifying cells. They can be used to treat both inherited diseases and non-inherited diseases. 
Kolon Industries Future Technology Institute (KIFTI) said in a statement that the research center partnered with Hanyang University's Industry-University-Research Cooperation Foundation to develop gene therapy technology. Various academic exchanges and educational programs will be carried out. "Through the establishment of a cooperative system with Hanyang University, we will nurture related experts and lead the development of biotechnology," KIFTI head Han Seong-soo said in a statement on January 5.
One in six people in the world will be 60 years old or older by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Data from Statistics Korea, a state-run statistical information service, showed that South Korea would become the world's most aged society by 2067. The number of dementia patients is projected to reach about 3.3 million by 2060 in South Korea.

South Korean gene therapy companies are trying hard to develop treatments for rare diseases. In December 2022, ANL Bio, a domestic bio company specializing in gene therapy, teamed up with ToolGen, a genome editing technology developer, to create a treatment for progeria, an extremely rare genetic disorder that causes rapid aging among young children. The rare syndrome happens in one in every eight million people turns children's hair disappear along with their eyebrows and eyelashes.
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