R&D on respiratory infectious diseases including COVID-19 has become the biggest part of the investment portfolio… Request for Proposals for new R&D projects is ongoing
Seoul, Republic of Korea, June 22th, 2020 – The RIGHT Fund (Younbeen Kim, CEO) plans to provide additional funds worth KRW 18 billion to 17 R&D projects that are needed to tackle infectious diseases including R&D projects for developing COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and digital health technologies. The RIGHT Fund, which will mark its second anniversary this July, has decided to invest KRW 28.5 billion into a total of 22 infectious disease projects, including 5 projects that have been supported since 2019.
Founded in July 2018, the RIGHT Fund is a global research funding agency established through a public-private-partnership between the Ministry of Health and Welfare of South Korea, 5 Korean life science companies (SK Bioscience, LG Chem, GC Pharma, Chong Kun Dang Pharm, Genexine) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the mission of promoting global health. The RIGHT Fund selects and financially supports R&D projects that leverage Korean innovation and technologies for the development of solutions addressing public health concerns and needs in developing countries in regard of responding to infectious diseases, and plans to support KRW 50 billion for this purpose until 2022.
The RIGHT Fund selected 17 R&D projects for this year including those for developing COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and digital health technologies as well as microneedle patch vaccine technology, and fighting against other infectious diseases such as emerging respiratory infectious diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis A, meningococcal infection, kala-azar and typhoid fever. 5 projects (4 vaccine projects, 1 diagnostics project) and 12 projects (5 vaccine projects, 5 diagnostics projects, 2 digital health projects) are selected from the last year’s second mid-to-large project award and this year’s first small project award, respectively. With this selection, the R&D for respiratory infections, including COVID-19, constitutes the biggest part i.e. one-third of the RIGHT Fund investment portfolio. The RIGHT Fund plans to provide research funds for the projects selected this year as soon as they complete signing the contract with research organizations for each selected project and will announce the details of the selected R&D projects and the research organizations on the RIGHT Fund website.
Younbeen Kim, CEO of the RIGHT Fund, stated, “All of the RIGHT Fund invested R&D projects aim to make practical contributions to the improvement of public health in developing countries as well as in Korea by developing vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and digital health technologies fighting against infectious diseases”. Kim added, “The RIGHT Fund will make continuous efforts to identify and leverage technological strengths of Korea in response to unmet needs in developing countries and to produce meaningful outcomes soon”.
In the meantime, the RIGHT Fund’s RFP is ongoing for new R&D projects on vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and digital health technologies, which are necessary to tackle endemic and emerging infectious diseases in developing countries, until July 6th, with the aim of supporting research funds in the first half of next year. Details of the RFP are available on the RIGHT Fund website (https://rightfoundation.kr).