BUSINESS

Celltrion chairman floats possibility of company consolidation

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Biopharma to build 120,000-liter plant in China

  • Published : Jan 16, 2020 - 15:24
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2020 - 15:34

SAN FRANCISCO – South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion is likely to be consolidated with two of its subsidiaries -- Celltrion Healthcare and Celltrion Pharm -- by as early as 2021, if the shareholders approve, a top executive said Wednesday

Speaking at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 in San Francisco, Chairman Seo Jung-jin also did not rule out the consolidation of two other subsidiaries -- Celltrion Skincure and Celltrion Entertainment.

Although Seo has announced his retirement at the end of 2020, making the consolidation uncertain, Celltrion shares finished on an upbeat note Wednesday on positive speculation.

The Celltrion chairman said he expects a consolidated on-year revenue increase of 100 percent in 2020 and another on-year 100 percent increase the following year. In terms of Celltrion Healthcare, on-year operating profit will be over 50 percent, Seo said. 


Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin gives a presentation at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2020 in San Francisco. (Joint Press Corps.)

Remsima SC’s operating profit will lead the performance of Celltrion’s three biosimilars -- Remsima, Truxima and Herzuma. Remsima SC is the subcutaneously injectable Remicade biosimlar.

Remsima SC is only approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis as of now, but Seo said Celltrion filed for all other indications at the European Medicines Agency on Tuesday.

“We have submitted variation submissions to the EMA. If there are no other comments, it will be approved within 90 days. If there are comments, it will be approved in 150 days at most,” he said.

“Excluding Japan and US, the regulatory filing is complete, and we hope to receive global approval within this year, excluding Japan and US.”

Remsima SC will be directly sold by Celltrion Healthcare in Europe, where it will launch in 27 countries between June and July. The direct-sales system will then branch out to Canada in 2020 and the US in 2021.

“It can be considered an original drug, as we have patented it in 120 countries,” Seo stressed.

The price would be higher than original blockbuster drug Humira (adalimumab), as Remsima SC will be used for rheumatoid arthritis patients whose condition does not improve with the Humira injection, he said.

“All doctors and patients are awaiting Remsima SC’s launch. This drug works better as you increase the dosage, without side effects,” Seo said.

In March, Celltrion will file for a biosimilar of a new type of Humira, whose official data will be disclosed at congresses. For this, Celltrion is taking a different pricing strategy.

“All the old-type drugs cannot compete with us now, as we have shockingly reduced the cost through high titer with state of the art technology that maintains the efficacy,” Seo teased.

In a series of significant business announcements, Seo said that Celltrion will build a 120,000-liter plant in China, set to be the country’s biggest biologics facility yet. Currently, the biggest biologics plant in China is only capable of 5,000-liter throughput.

At its China plant, Celltrion envisions the production of Insulin biosimilars.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylaim@heraldcorp.com)
Korea Herald correspondent


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