ST Pharm Co., South Korea’s leading manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), is going all out to diversify its business to novel drug development and precision chemistry while prepping to expand its oligonucleotide API plant.
The company affiliated to the country’s top drugmaker Dong-A Socio Holdings has supplied APIs to pharmaceutical giants in the world since the mid-1980s on cGMP manufacturing validation for its facilities.
ST Pharm chief executive Kim Jyung-jin recently told Maeil Business Newspaper that the company is expanding capacity of its flagship oligonucleotide API, which is emerging as a next-generation molecule to treat cancer.
“We will begin exports of oligonucleotide APIs from 2019, while being actively involved from the clinical trial phase led by global pharma companies,” said Kim.
APIs for novel drugs are profitable because of entry barriers in production technology, know-how and facilities prevent competitors from joining the market. ST Pharm posted 200.4 billion won in sales and 77.6 billion won in operating profit with an OP margin of 38.7 percent last year.
ST Pharm is expanding capacity of its oligonucleotide API plant to further drive growth. The expansion project will be completed in 2018, and the company’s production capacity will rise to third in the world ranking once the plant becomes fully operational in 2019.
Oligonucleotide is under a spotlight as a next-generation anticancer drug since 2006 when researchers on it won the Nobel Prize in Physiology. Previous cancer drugs such as chemotherapies and targeted drugs are low molecule drugs with higher risk of toxic side effects. Third-generation immunotherapy drugs reduced toxicity but their availability is limited due to high prices and different patient types.
ST Pharm is also committed to develop novel drugs independently. “We can build on a stable cash cow base of APIs for new drugs to jump into developing novel drugs to further raise our corporate value as Israel-based Teva did,” said Kim.
By Kim Hye-soon and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]