South Korea’s leading biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion Inc. reaffirmed that its development of a new vaccine for pneumonia is under way, a move that is expected to help it expand its drug pipeline, said its chairman Seo Jung-jin.
“We have secured diverse pipeline to promote continuous growth until 2030,” Seo said in an annual meeting with marketing partners in Venice, Italy, on Thursday (local time). “We have added a high quality and cost competitive pneumonia vaccine to our pipeline that is under development.”
The pneumonia vaccine is the second novel drug development project officially announced by the biosimilar company as part of its efforts to diversify business portfolio that has mainly focused on the development of biosimilar drugs. The company’s flagship copycat versions of biological drugs are Remsima, Truxima, and Herzuma.
Celltrion’s first novel drug was influenza antibody drug CT-P27 whose phase 2b clinical trial is under way. The company did not unveil further details on the development stage details for its new pneumonia vaccine as it is still in the early development.
Seo also said the company’s biosimilars for Humira and Avastin that are under clinical trial have been developed with higher concentration level and are more price competitive compared to other approved biosimilars in the market.
The chairman also reassured investors that the company will soon embark on the construction of its third manufacturing facilities outside of Korea, saying that the company will name the location for the plant in the first half of this year. The Korean biopharmaceutical company has decided to build its third plant overseas after Celltrion’s overseas partners raised concerns over rising geopolitical tension in the Korean peninsula. Earlier this year, Seo also said the company has decided to triple the capacity of its third plant from originally planned 120,000 liters to 360,000 liters to meet growing demand for its drugs.
On Friday, Celltrion was greeted with much fanfare on its first trading day in the country’s main stock market Kospi, ending at 288,000 won ($265), up 16,500 won or 6.08 percent from the debut price. Celltrion, which was delisted from second-tier Kosdaq on Thursday, instantly became the third largest stock in the Kospi on its debut on the market ahead of the country’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor and steel giant Posco.
The annual 2018 Celltrion Healthcare International Summit The annual was attended by about 110 executives from 25 marketing partner companies including Mundipharma, Celltrion’s distribution partner for Remsima, Truxima, and Herzuma in Europe, and Nippon Kayaku and Hikma, its partners in the Middle East and Central and South America.
By Shin Chan-ok and Lee Eun-joo
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