Biosimilar plant marks new focus for Dong-ADong-A Pharmaceutical, the country’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, said it has embarked on building a factory to produce biosimilars in Songdo, Incheon, yesterday.
This marks the company’s first step toward fostering biosimilars as a new growth engine, it said.
Yesterday’s ground-breaking ceremony in Incheon’s free economic zone was attended by 100 officials including Kang Shin-ho, the company’s chairman, and Masahiko Matsuo, president of Japan’s Meiji Seika Pharma.
Dong-A forged a partnership with Meiji to co-develop a biosimilar for Humira, a medication used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, after they cooperated in producing a biosimilar version of Herceptin, a breast cancer treatment.
The Korean drugmaker has invested 80 billion won ($72 million) to build the plant but is expected to pump more money into it down the road. However, it said it will strive to economize by establishing fewer fixed facilities and making the plant as flexible as possible so it can utilize it for various products in the future.
“We plan to build a high-tech biotechnology complex in Songdo that enables the company to produce various types of bio-related products, with an eye on possible synergy effects,” Kang said.
The plant is scheduled to be completed in November 2013, with operations due to begin the next year.
Under the partnership with Meiji, Dong-A sees Japan as its first target market. According to the company, the Japanese biomedicine market is expected to grow from the current 400 billion yen to 1.2 trillion yen by 2020.
Dong-A and Meiji will first conduct clinical tests suitable for Korean and Japanese patients before launching products in each other’s markets, the company said.
By Song Su-hyun [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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