Celltrion considering new Asian factory as sales grow

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Celltrion considering new Asian factory as sales grow

The head of Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion said Friday that the company is considering building a plant in Asia in a move to boost production capacity amid rising sales.

“I will prioritize a country where Celltrion can have 100 percent stake in the plant to prevent technology leaks,” Seo Jeong-jin said by phone from Vienna, Austria, to the audience at the company’s shareholders’ meeting in Incheon, a port city just west of Seoul.

Seo is in Vienna as part of marketing campaigns of biosimilar drugs.

The company said it will select a final candidate city for its third plant by the end of June.

Celltrion has said it will triple the capacity of its new plant from the originally planned 120,000 liters to 360,000 liters. Currently, the combined capacity of Celltrion’s two plants in Korea stands at 140,000 liters.

The expansion plan is meant to meet the growing demand for Celltrion’s biosimiliar drugs.

Biosimilars are officially approved copycat medicines developed after patents for the original biopharmaceuticals expire.

Celltrion said its sales came to 949 billion won ($877 million) in 2017, up 41.5 percent from a year ago. The company’s net profit jumped 122 percent on-year to 400.7 billion in 2017.

Seo also unveiled an ambitious plan to become one of the top three biotech firms in the world, along with Genentech and Amgen by 2020, and to manufacture new medicine as well as vaccines.

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