온라인 제조 플랫폼 캐파(CAPA)가 스타트업계의 최신 뉴스를 영문으로 전달하는 미디어 ‘코리아테크데스크(KoreaTechDesk)’와 함께 캐파의 주요 고객 및 파트너를 소개합니다. 코리아테크데스크는 계속해서 캐파 블로그를 통해 소개된 인터뷰 콘텐츠를 가공해 기사로 작성, 배포할 예정입니다.
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Everyone must have used a self-diagnosis kit at least once when they felt symptoms of suspected COVID-19. The self-diagnosis kit is the principle of mixing reagents with bodily fluids and then dropping them on paper to determine whether you are infected with Coronavirus. Two red lines on the paper signal the possibility of a virus in the body.
The official name of the material that composes this paper is ‘Membrane.’ The self-diagnosis kit’s membrane is a biomembrane with coronavirus antibodies and helps antibodies and antigens (viruses) meet.
Due to the recent growth of the bio-industry and the aftermath of the pandemic, the demand for membrane filters is steadily increasing. In addition, membrane filters are used in water treatment fields to purify water and in various research fields such as laboratories. The problem is that the domestic supply of membranes is concentrated in some foreign companies. Due to the high market price due to the oligopoly, and the delivery period extended because it is imported from overseas, it isn’t easy to purchase quickly.
A Korean startup, ‘UMTR,‘ a customer of CAPA, an online manufacturing platform, is working hard to localize these membrane filters. UMTR is looking for a manufacturer on CAPA to make the parts needed to produce domestic membrane products. CAPA met CEO Park Seong-ryul at the UMTR office in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do.
The development of domestic membranes has sprouted
‘UMTR’ stands for ‘United Membrane Technology and Research’ and works with the mission of researching and developing membranes. The Korean name of the company ‘Umtle’ was conceived from the pronunciation of ‘UMTR’ and the verb’ Umtda,’ which means ‘to sprout a new sprout,’ another meaning of ‘starting up’ or ‘new luck or thinking.’ It is connected with the CEO Park Seong-ryul’s entrepreneurship process during COVID-19.
CEO Park Seong-ryul studied membrane technology at Lotte Chemical after completing graduate school. Afterward, he moved to the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology, where he was in charge of the bio sector evaluation and watched related industries’ evolution. At the time, the biopharmaceutical and in vitro diagnostic device industries emerged as the main focus, and membranes were used as key components. However, companies that needed membranes depended on imports 100% and suffered from high prices and long delivery times from overseas suppliers.
CEO Park started a business to solve these difficulties and participated in the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology’s in-house startup support program. Membrane filter development is a high-risk undertaking requiring a high degree of skill and expertise and an upfront capital investment. Nevertheless, CEO Park worked on operating UMTR with the startup support program.
Mission to help humanity is driving force for UMTR
UMTR’s representative products are bottle-top and centrifugal filters for bacteria removal and NC membranes for in vitro diagnostics. Filter products for removing germs are being developed to get wet faster and be filtered more quickly by adding hydrophilicity to the initially used membrane material. In addition, a large amount of contaminated water is generated when the filter is manufactured, and UMTR minimizes contamination by using materials with very low toxicity.