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Boryung to set up JV with US space station developer

March 21, 2023 - 19:27 By Shim Woo-hyun
Boryung CEO Jay Kim speaks during the company's annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday. (Boryung)

South Korean drug maker Boryung said Tuesday the company will establish a joint venture with US commercial space station developer Axiom Space in its latest foray into the space health care industry.

“(Boryung) came to an agreement with Axiom Space yesterday to establish a joint venture in South Korea," Boryung CEO Jay Kim said during the company's annual shareholders meeting, held at its headquarters in Seoul on Tuesday.

According to Boryung, the two companies have signed a letter of intent to establish the joint venture company in South Korea.

Kim, however, said the company cannot reveal any details at the moment as there has not been a specific agreement between the two firms.

"The two companies will decide on details regarding the joint venture in one or two months," Kim added.

Under the JV, he said the two companies plan to find business opportunities in the Korean market first and later expand their business to markets abroad.

Appointed as the company’s CEO in 2019, Kim, grandson of Boryung founder Kim Seung-ho, has shown a great interest in space-related businesses, resulting in a series of investments in Axiom Space last year.

In early 2022, Boryung invested $10 million in Axiom Space, which was followed by another $50 million investment in December.

In April last year, Boryung, together with Axiom Space and advisory firm Starburst, also launched Care in Space in Los Angeles, a program dedicated to encouraging companies from various fields to discover the unexplored area of health care in space.

The company's rather unexpected investment and efforts into the new business area had previously raised concerns among its shareholders and investors.

During Tuesday’s general meeting, investors raised questions about the breaking-even point of the nascent business and countermeasures for investment failures.

"As the company's CEO, I apologize for causing misunderstandings," Kim said. While admitting that he has not properly provided enough information regarding the investments, Kim also made sure that the company will continue to develop its investment in the space industry.

“It’s hard to say when we would make profits or how big the profits would be for now,” Kim said. “Compared to making a new drug that starts from scratch, the chances of success seem higher because Axiom has continued the business for some time.”