SK Group bets on biotechnology as energy business slows

Korean conglomerate SK Group plans to spend $1 billion to build a biotechnology business, which it hopes will offset slow growth in its existing businesses.
SK Group, Korea's fourth-largest conglomerate, plans to spend $1 billion to build a biotechnology business, whose profits it hopes will offset slowing growth in its energy and chemicals arms.

The Seoul-based company says it wants to make life sciences, which refers to pharmaceuticals, agricultural and industrial products developed using living organisms and genetic technology, the third pillar of its business, alongside telecommunications and energy.

SK Group is starting more or less from scratch. It currently has a small pharmaceuticals business with two drugs it hopes to commercialize. One, an antidepressant it says is similar to Prozac but less toxic, is in phase II of clinical trials in the US. Another, an anti-epileptic,...

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