US-based contract research organisation (CRO) WCCT Global has announced an alliance with Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF), the government-backed initiative that earlier this year hooked up with another US-headquartered CRO, Parexel.

That was the first time KDDF had reached out to an international CRO in its efforts to help Korean companies develop and commercialise healthcare products for the global market.

The “mutual co-operation and business agreement” with WCCT is the second such tie-up, the CRO noted.

Through the alliance, KDDF hopes to continue building links with research institutions worldwide through educational forums, training programmes and other initiatives between Korea and the US, WCCT said.

Represented and supported

“This is an exciting opportunity for WCCT Global to help Korean companies bring new medicinal products to the US and allow them to be represented and supported through the drug development process in the US,” commented Dr Kenneth Kim, the CRO’s founder and chief executive officer.

WCCT has been providing regulatory, drug development and Phase I/IIa services to Asian clients for nearly a decade, noted Kim, who set up the CRO in 1998 as a Korean-American physician specialising in Internal Medicine, Allergy and Immunology.  

With its access to Asian trial subjects, WCCT can supply many of its Asian-based clients with first-in-human and Asian-ethnic data in the same study, saving time and streamlining global development plans, Kim added.

Country caretaker

“We see this as another great bridge to playing a partnering role and becoming the country caretaker for work brought to the US, as well as serving as a conduit for out-licensed compounds to Korean pharmaceutical companies,” he commented.

Set up in September 2011 with assets of $1 billion to develop at least 10 new drugs for the global market by 2019, KDDF is a consortium between Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and Ministry of Health and Welfare.

One of the Fund’s key activities, WCCT noted, is establishing channels to bring together global biopharmaceutical leaders and Korean investigators. A total of 16 projects have been awarded to date in this portfolio, spanning the whole drug development cycle and various therapeutic areas.