Covid-19 has given South Korea’s biotech firms a shot in the arm

UNTIL EARLY 2020 Seegene was a medium-sized South Korean purveyor of medical diagnostics with around $110m in annual sales. On January 27th that year Chun Jong-yoon, Seegene’s boss, and his counterparts at other biotechnology firms were summoned to an emergency meeting by the government. Officials asked if they could produce tests for a novel coronavirus which had been spreading rapidly in Wuhan, China. Seegene’s test kit was given the go-ahead by regulators. When cases began spiking soon afterwards in Daegu, in South Korea’s south-east, the company went into emergency mode. “We stopped all other activities and just threw everything we had at covid-19,” says Mr

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