Taedonggang Reagent Company

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Last Updated: August 25, 1998
Other Name: 대동강시약회사; November 19th Research Institute (11월19연구소)
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
Subordinate To: Academy of Medical Sciences (의학과학원), Ministry of Public Health (보건성), Cabinet (내각); and/or Railway Ministry (철도성), Cabinet (내각)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Unknown

The Taedonggang Reagent Company, also known as the November 19th Research Institute, produces vaccines, diagnostic tests and equipment such as electronic microscopes, tests for hepatitis B (passive hemagglutination and reverse-passive hemagglutination), as well as test kits for hepatitis B surface antigens and albumin. These devices have been advertised by North Korean business entities for sale abroad. It is unclear if the firm is still subordinate to the Railway Ministry, the Academy of Medical Sciences, or a combination of both in the form of a restructured enterprise. Furthermore, any connections to the North Korean BW program are unclear. Ko Chin Nam has directed this organization, which is also known as the November 19th Research Institute, since at least 1993.

In cooperation with personnel from Kim Il Sung University, the Taedonggang Reagent Company successfully manufactured an electronic microscope (EM) in 1999. According to the Korean Central News Agency, the EM project was completed in six months.

According to the Kwahagwon T'ongbo (Academy of Sciences Report), North Korean scientists have used EMs to analyze the Newcastle disease virus, a virulent pathogen in chickens.

According to North Korean media, Ko Chin Nam is the president of the Taedonggang Reagent Company, and the director of the November 19th Research Institute. Ko was born in Japan and his family had ties to Choch'ongnyŏn, the (pro-North Korean) General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. After departing for North Korea at the age of 15, Ko studied at a middle school and later joined the Korean People's Army and joined the Korean Workers Party. After completing his military service, Ko studied at the Academy of Medical Sciences and was apparently was awarded a doctoral degree in the biological sciences.

[1] "DPRK Medical Scientist Ko Chin Nam Profiled," 16 April 2001, in FBIS Document ID: KPP20010416000106.
[2] "DPRK Exploiting Electron Microscopes," 11 April 2001, in FBIS Document ID: KPP20010409000133.
[3] Lee Chae Sŭng, Pukhan'ŭl Umjig'i'nŭn Technocrat (Seoul: Ilbit, 1998), pp. 385-386.
[4] Yi Chae-sung, Pukhanul Umjiginun Tek'unok'urat'u [Technocrats Who Move North Korea], 25 August 1998, pp. 344-392, in FBIS Document ID: FTS19991203001142.
[5] "Electronic Microscope of 300,000 Magnifications Made," Korean Central News Agency, 1 March 1999, www.kcna.co.jp.
[6] "Young Scientific Personnel Produced," Korean Central News Agency, 24 March 1999, www.kcna.co.jp.

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