Celltrion has confirmed it will build a biosimilars plant in China and may merge its healthcare and pharma units.
A spokesman told Bioprocess Insider: â€śCelltrion plans to build a plant in China in a move to directly advance into the worldâ€™s second-largest biopharmaceutical market. Celltrion signed a business agreement with the city government of Wuhan and the provincial government of Hubei Province on 20 January 2020.
â€śThe companyâ€™s business roadmap centers on building a plant with a production capacity of 120,000 liters in China to boost capacity amid rising demand. The plant will not only manufacture biopharmaceutical products but also include CMO business,â€ť he added.
The spokesman went on to say that â€śCelltrion will eventually also set up its sales and manufacturing infrastructure in China and a portfolio of 16 products tailored for the Chinese market will be set up by 2030.
The comments came after Celltrion chairman Seo Jung-jin announced plans for the China plant at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference last week.
Also, according to the Yonhap News Agency, Celltrion will sell Remsima, a biosimilar version of Janssen Biotechâ€™s autoimmune disease drug Remicade (infliximab), in China.
The subcutaneous formulation of Remsima was approved by the European Commission for patients with rheumatoid arthritis inÂ November 2019
Celltrion Healthcare, the firmâ€™s distribution arm, has applied for a further extension to the marketing authorization to include inflammatory bowel disease.
This EU decision is expected in mid-2020.
In related news, Celltrion is considering merging its Celltrion Healthcare Co. and Celltrion Pharm Inc businesses.
According to a regulatory filing published last Friday (here in Korean), the firm is conducting an internal review to assess such a merger.
Celltrion Pharma is the firmâ€™s drug business, while Celltrion Healthcare handles distribution in overseas markets.
According to the Pulse newswire, Seo shared the possibility of a merger at the JP Morgan conference.
He told delegates such a move would create synergy by integrating development, production and distribution.
Enhanced ADC platform
Seo also shared details of Celltrionâ€™s drug development plan, which will involve a new platform technology and drug repositioning.
According to a company statement the tech â€“ the Antibody Delivery Enhancing Domain (ADED) â€“ is designed to increase the delivery efficiency of antibody-drug conjugates and their cell penetration.
Celltrion said the approach â€śhas the potential to enhance cancer treatments.â€ť
Celltrion partnered with ADED developer iProgen Biotech last year. At the time the firm said the plan was to develop novel ADCs against validated antibody targets, including HER2 and CD20.