Market for drugs, Bacchus and beauty big in Southeast Asia

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Market for drugs, Bacchus and beauty big in Southeast Asia

Bacchus is being advertised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia [DONG-A PHARMACEUTICAL]

Bacchus is being advertised in Phnom Penh, Cambodia [DONG-A PHARMACEUTICAL]

Korean pharmaceutical companies are slowly expanding their presence in Asean countries, targeting the market that is not yet big but is expected to surge rapidly in the coming years.  
Asean countries are sometimes called pharmerging markets, where pharmaceutical use is currently relatively low but expected to grow fast over the next few years.  
The Southeast Asian pharmaceutical market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7.5 percent for the next five years, according to data from the health care market tracker IQVIA. That is considerably fast compared to the world's average, which stands at 4.5 percent.  
The size of pharmaceutical markets in three Asean countries — Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand — is estimated to be about $6 billion.
Korean companies see the Asean countries as a new opportunity to sell their products, with some even establishing their own subsidiaries in the region.
Celltrion's Remsima [CELLTRION]

Celltrion's Remsima [CELLTRION]

Celltrion currently sells its three primary biosimilar products — Remsima, Truxima, and Herzuma — in major Asean countries, like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.  
Remsima is a biosimilar copy of Janssen Biotech's Remicade, and Truxima is a biosimilar referencing blood cancer cure Rituximab. Herzuma targets stomach and breast cancer.  
Biosimilars, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are biological products that are approved based on proof that they are highly similar to other FDA-approved products. The drugs have no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety or effectiveness from the reference product, but they cost less.
Marketing and distribution are handled by Celltrion Healthcare.  
SK bioscience said it will export its SKYCovione Covid-19 vaccine to Southeast Asian countries as soon as it gets approval. The first Korean-developed Covid-19 vaccine is currently awaiting use authorization from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
SK bioscience's GBP510, Korea's first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine [SK BIOSCIENCE]

SK bioscience's GBP510, Korea's first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine [SK BIOSCIENCE]

Dong-A Pharmaceutical is already doing quite well in the area with its energy drink Bacchus. Bacchus is exported to many Asean countries and is especially popular in Cambodia.
First introduced in 1961, Bacchus has become synonymous with energy drinks in Korea. In the 1960s, shortly after the Korean War, when huge numbers of people were malnourished, Bacchus became popular as an affordable and accessible way to tackle illness and nutritional deficiencies. Now it's considered a tonic for overwork.
Dong-A first introduced Bacchus in Cambodia in 2009, and reported 5.2 billion won ($4.1 million) of sales there in 2011, beating Red Bull, the long-time No. 1 energy drink.  
Exports of Bacchus totaled 81.8 billion won in 2021, most to Cambodia, according to Dong-A.
In 2017, exports of Bacchus totaled 65.3 billion won, and around 96 percent went to Cambodia.
Dong-A ST built a factory in Indonesia in 2018 in collaboration with Combiphar. The two invested $8.3 million each.
Dong-A ST's products including Eporon, an anemia treatment for chronic renal failure, and Leucostim, a neutropenia treatment, are being made there.
CHA Biotech in 2019 acquired 24 percent of Singapore Medical Group (SMG), becoming the largest shareholder of the healthcare provider. SMG runs around 40 hospitals in three Asean countries, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Seoul-based CGBIO in February established Neoregen, an overseas subsidiary in Bali, Indonesia, in a bid to offer its aesthetic services there.
"The company aims to run a medical aesthetic clinic that offers various procedures using our own aesthetic products and medical devices, as well as use Indonesia as the base to distribute our products there," a CGBIO spokesperson said.

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