Aeguk Preventative Medicine Production Factory

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Last Updated: May 1, 1997
Other Name: 애국예방약생산공장; Aeguk Preventive Medicine Plant
Location: Near the Nangnang Bridge (낙낭다리), Tongil Road (통일거리), Nangnang-Kuyeok (낙낭구역), Pyongyang (평양시), North Korea
Subordinate To: Medical Biology Institute (의학생물학연구소), Academy of Medical Sciences (의학과학원), Ministry of Public Health (보건성), Cabinet (내각)
Size: One main building (Medical Biology Research Institute, and Aeguk Preventative Medicine Production Factory) with three floors and 2,740 square meters in floor space; total area for the facility (possibly including that of the larger Medical Biology Researc
Facility Status: Unknown

In July 1993, the factory was built with equipment donated by businesswomen who are members of the Jochongryeon (조총련), the pro-North Korea General Association of Korean Residents in Japan. The facility became operational in October 1993, but any connections to the North Korean BW program are unclear. The name "Aeguk (애국)," which means "patriotism," reflects the contributions made by overseas pro-North Korean residents, mostly by Choch'ongnyŏn. The Aeguk Preventative Medicine Production Factory includes 10 laboratories and various workshops dedicated to research, development, and production of vaccine and medicine. The factory's main product has been a highly touted hepatitis B vaccine, produced through the use of recombinant yeast. [Note: Although this technique, including the use of the organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce the antigenic principle in hepatitis B vaccine has been used for many years, North Korea has attempted to present this as a new development.] According to North Korean media reports, the first floor of the factory houses sterilization rooms, storage space, and equipment for producing distilled water. The second floor contains the "Genetic Engineering Laboratory," while the third floor contains the "Diagnostic Liquid Work Team" and the "Cell Engineering Laboratory." The Aeguk Preventative Medicine Production Factory reportedly contains 341 pieces of equipment. Although the DPRK claims it that these units are constructed onsite, many of those were reportedly imported directly or indirectly from Japan. As of 1995, the chief of the Aeguk Preventive Medicine Factory was Lee Yong Ki. Many of the workers and staff are scientists who graduate from the Kim Il Sung University and the Pyeongseong College of Science.

[1] Lee Chae Sŭng, Pukhan'ŭl Umjig'i'nŭn Technocrat (Seoul: Ilbit, 1998), pp. 348-349.
[2]Yi Chae Sung, Pukhanul Umjiginun Tek'unok'urat'u [Technocrats Who Move North Korea], Chapter 3, August 1998, pp. 344-392, FBIS Document ID: FTS19991203001142.
[3] "Preventive medicine Production," Kumsu Kangsan, 1 May 1997, pp. 23-24, in "DPRK's Pharmaceuticals Factory Producing Medicines for Hepatitis, Other IIIs—Graphics Attached," FBIS Document ID: KPP20020201000089.
[4] "DPRK's Aeguk Preventive Medicine Production Factory Photographs," 28 February 2001, FBIS Document ID: KPP20010228000118.
[5] "DPRK's Medical Biology Institute Profiled," 6 March 2001, FBIS Document ID: KPP20010306000164.
[6] South Korea Ministry of Unification, Pukhan Kaeyo 2000 (Seoul: Ministry of Unification, 1999), pp. 408-413.
[7] Kim Ch'ol-yong, Wi Su-kil, and Kim Chong-uk, "Research on Culture of Recombinant Yeast Producing Hepatitis B Surface Antigen," Choson Uihak, 30 April 2000, pp. 28-30, in "DPRK Researchers on Growing Recombinant Yeast Producing HBsAg," FBIS Document ID: KPP20011218000105.

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