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Bio Korea 2020 goes online amid pandemic

Virtual exhibition space of Bio Korea 2020 (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
Virtual exhibition space of Bio Korea 2020 (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
The annual Bio Korea International Convention will take place online for the first time this year, in an innovative approach that involves virtual reality exhibition pavilion and remote business meetings.

“Instead of calling off the global gathering for the opportunity to share the latest medical and pharmaceutical endeavors, we have decided to jump over the spatial limitations by taking the event online,” said Kwon Deok-cheol, president of Korea Health Industry Development Institute.

“South Korea is the stronghold of information and communications technology, and the first country to launch 5G services,” Kwon said, explaining the idea behind taking the conference online.

Starting next year, the event will run both offline and online, said Kwon. 

Kwon Deok-cheol, president of Korea Health Industry Development Institute (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
Kwon Deok-cheol, president of Korea Health Industry Development Institute (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)


To balance the event, what had been a three-day offline event will now be weeklong. Firms can join at one-fourth the cost of an offline fair.

The webpage will run 24 hours so that participating firms from around the globe can freely access the contents in their time zones. Contents will be accessible in Korean and English.

The most striking feature of this online exhibition is the 360-degrees virtual reality pavilion where the user can roam freely as if in a first-person-shooter game.

“Try not to get lost,” said Eom Bo-young, the director general at the bureau of Health Industry Promotion, emphasizing the vastness of the online space, much larger than the Coex exhibition hall, where the conference usually takes place.

“In the future, we may update the program to allow for users to see each other once they log in, and talk to each other if they come across their avatars,” Eom suggested.

Eom Bo-young, director general at the KHIDI bureau of Health Industry Promotion (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)
Eom Bo-young, director general at the KHIDI bureau of Health Industry Promotion (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)


Some of the topics that will be discussed in this year’s Bio Korea 2020 include electroceuticals for central nervous diseases, growing role of artificial intelligence in healthcare, Alzheimer’s disease, doctopreneurs and intellectual property rights of biosimilars, among others.

Over 390 companies will present their promotional videos at their virtual booths. Some 90 speakers will deliver presentations via prerecorded videos while investor relations pitches will be livestreamed with real-time translations.

Eom said there are already some 1,600 video-chat-enabled remote business meetings that are being arranged.

In the job fair segment, some 30 companies including GC Pharma, DongA ST, SK Chemical and more are planning to recruit some 150 new employees. Online job applications can be made directly through the Bio Korea 2020 website.

Bio Korea 2020 is slated to take place from May 18 through 23. It is hosted by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute and sponsored by the ministries of welfare, industry, labor, drug and patent, as well as medical professionals‘ associations.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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