Institut Pasteur Korea

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Institut Pasteur Korea
EstablishedApril 12, 2004
ChairmanYoung Seek Lee
CEOWang-Shick Ryu
Staff96 Pasteurians
Address16, Daewangpangyo-ro 712beon-gil, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea

Institut Pasteur Korea is an infectious disease-focused research institute located in Gyeonggi Province, Rep. of Korea. Its mission[1] is to identify novel molecular targets and discover small molecules by utilizing its proprietary platforms to diagnose, treat and address serious unmet global public health needs.

It was inaugurated as a nonprofit private research institute on 12 April 2004[2] as a collaboration between the Institut Pasteur in Paris and Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul and it is supported by the Korean government through the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (former Ministry of Science and Technology)[3] and Gyeonggi Province.

Institut Pasteur Korea has been a key driver of early drug discovery among the 33 members of the Institut Pasteur International Network located in 26 countries on 5 continents, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Korea within Asia.

Institut Pasteur Korea provides fundamental technologies and tools to bridge between Korean and international bio-pharma science. For more than a decade, it has integrated biology, IT and chemistry to develop innovative imaging technologies for high-throughput screening; resulting in discovery of a new best-in-class molecule to fight tuberculosis (TB). Institut Pasteur Korea is also focused on discovery biology to study and understand TB and on the development of new and more effective ways to diagnose and treat the disease. Leveraging its unique drug discovery capabilities and global partnerships, Institut Pasteur Korea also tackles antibacterial resistance, HCV, HBV, influenza, leishmaniasis, dengue fever and cancer.

The Institute is housed in a purpose-built facility in the city of Pangyo in Gyeonggi Province, 20 km south of Seoul.


Institut Pasteur Korea was established by collaboration between Institut Pasteur and KIST.[4] The Institut Pasteur is a private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, microorganisms, diseases and vaccines. It is named after Louis Pasteur, its founder and first director, who successfully developed the first anti-rabies serum in 1885. KIST, founded in 1966, was the first multi-disciplinary scientific research institute in Korea and has contributed significantly to the economic development of the country.[5]

In 2003, two major agreements between Institut Pasteur Paris and KIST paved the way for the launch of Institut Pasteur Korea. One established financial arrangements for the operation of the institute; the other was a general agreement on its foundation and management. Institut Pasteur Korea was mandated to expand the reach of Institut Pasteur by moving basic research toward therapy development and to introduce the “Pasteurian” research mission, management and culture to Korea.[3] Over its 130-year history, the Institut Pasteur in Paris has combined scientific achievements with their application in public health.

Institut Pasteur Korea was inaugurated in April 2004. Operations began at the start of 2005 under the motto “From Drug to Genes”, with the mission of turning basic research into pharmaceuticals using “target-free” drug discovery. Using this approach, drugs are sought in a cellular context, with no preconceived notions of what targets within the cell are relevant.

Institut Pasteur Korea joined the Institut Pasteur International Network in November 2004 as a private foundation recognized as working toward the public good through biomedical research.

Until April 2009 Institut Pasteur Korea was located in a small facility on the campus of KIST. It then moved into a new 15,199 square meter facility in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province. The institute is one of the few in the world that contains robotic, high throughput optical imaging capacity within biosafety level 2 and 3 facilities.

Vision and Strategy[edit]

With the excellence of its multinational scientists and staff, the cutting-edge translational-driven research innovations, the strong affiliation with Institut Pasteur Paris and its global network of 33 institutes, and the commitment to making a difference in people's lives according to the teachings of Dr. Louis Pasteur, Institut Pasteur Korea aims to be one of the premier research institutions in Korea.

Institut Pasteur Korea focuses on five key objectives to accelerate the discovery phase for a multitude of infectious diseases:

1) Build a fundamental understanding of the biology of the disease.

2) Deploy discovery platforms to search for novel host molecular target(s) for intervention and diagnosis; and identify novel compounds to treat the disease.

3) Facilitate the transition from discovery to translation through chemistry optimization and asset valorization efforts.

4) Identify the right industrial partner for further development and commercialization of diagnostic kits for earlier detection and prevention; and novel small molecule therapies for immediate treatment and disease spread control.

5) Develop and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow through targeted recruitment and retention of rising stars, combined with academic outreach programs, such as Pasteur Jr. and Institut Pasteur Korea Life Science programs.


Institut Pasteur Korea is organized into four divisions, Research Technology Management, Discovery Biology, Discovery Chemistry and Administration. These functional units collaborate across disciplines and classical research boundaries, providing an effective operational organization to meet the strategic goals of the institute.

Research and Technology[edit]

Institut Pasteur Korea’s research groups study infectious diseases including tuberculosis, antibacterial resistance, HCV, HBV, influenza, leishmaniasis, and dengue fever, as well as cancer.

For over a decade, Institut Pasteur Korea has focused on technology development to build the best drug discovery platform for high-content screening performed in BSL level 2 and 3 environments. Its innovative screening platform utilizes target-free, visual high-content screening using large compound libraries or siRNA libraries to identify chemical compounds that prevent or slow disease progression in live, physiologically relevant disease models. Its core technology features automated cellular imaging-based, high-content screening facilities with a capacity to screen up to 2 million points (independent compounds or RNAi) per year.

Institut Pasteur Korea’s target identification technology uses high-content, genome-wide visual arrays to identify targets of interest in live cellular disease models. By screening with siRNA libraries, researchers can identify genes that alter drug sensitivity in the cellular disease model, thereby providing a way to quickly close in on the molecular targets.

Institut Pasteur Korea’s Discovery Chemistry group applies new concepts of drug design to optimize hit-to-lead identification. Its drug discovery technology platforms have led to the first-ever TB chemical screen performed using primary macrophages and resulting in a new best-in-class molecule to fight TB, referred to as Q203.

Business Development[edit]

Institut Pasteur Korea actively promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration with international and domestic scientific communities and it is committed to sharing the fruits of our research, technologies and expertise with partners and young scientists.

The positive reputation of Institut Pasteur Korea and its technology in the international pharmaceutical community has led to collaborations with multiple global partners. Also of significance, Institut Pasteur Korea entered the Korean market by establishing a privileged partnership with major pharmaceuticals. The formation of these collaborations is an important milestone for the development of further business relationships in the pharmaceutical arena.

Additionally, Qurient, Co. Ltd. is a spinoff company that serves as a virtual drug development center, using contract research organizations to bring small molecules generated by Institut Pasteur Korea into clinical trials. The goal of Qurient is to license out lead compounds discovered at Institut Pasteur Korea for clinical development and commercialization by larger partners in the biotech and pharmaceuticals sector.

Financial Support[edit]

Institut Pasteur Korea is funded through Korean government subsidies from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and Gyeonggi Province, domestic and international grants, revenues from industry sponsored research and license agreements, and donations.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Official website of Institut Pasteur Korea. Retrieved 7 October 2010. Archived 15 December 2010 at WebCite
  2. ^ “Conclusion on General Agreement for Establishment of Institut Pasteur Korea” KIST Newsletter No. 294, January 26, 2004
  3. ^ a b Jae-Eun Lee, Gi-jung Chun, "The Key Success Factors of the Policy Implementation for the Government Innovation: Inducing Policy of the French Institute Pasteur", Korean Policy Sciences Review, Vol. 8, Nov.4 (December 2004)
  4. ^ Creation of the Institut Pasteur of Korea Archived December 15, 2010, at WebCite
  5. ^ Moo-Young Han, "Annotated Chronology of Korea's Science and Technology: From Rice Paddies to Flat Panel Displays" "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)