Celltrion Inc. is going to establish a joint venture company in China within this year to enter Chinese pharmaceutical markets on full-scale. China's drug market is the second largest in the world.
Seo Jeong-jin, chairman of Celltrion Group, made this announcement at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference held in San Francisco on Dec. 9 (local time).
"We are currently negotiating to establish a joint venture in China," Seo said during a news conference. "We will try to ensure that Chinese patients who have been unable to use expensive biomedical products use them at reasonable prices."
In 2017, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration approved an investigational new drug (IND) application filed by Celltrion to carry out human clinical trials for Remsima, an autoimmune disease therapeutic antibody biosimilar of infliximab. It was the first time that a biosimilar developed by a foreign company has won clinical approval from China.
The global pharmaceutical market has been growing at around 6 percent per year since 2005. It is predicted that by 2020, it will reach $1.43 trillion (approximately 1,650 trillion won). In particular, China is expected to account for 11.8 percent of the global market with sales of US$17 billion in 2020, second only to US$58 billion of the United States.
Seo also announced his plan to start the chemical drug business in China through the joint venture.
"Chemical medicines account for two-thirds of the world's pharmaceutical market with sales of about 1,000 trillion won (US$840 billion). In 2015, we completed construction of a drug factory in Cheongju of Korea and completed a portfolio of highly-marketable medicines with a focus on AIDS treatment," he said.
Celltrion will also launch a biosimilar direct sales system in Europe. "The core product to be sold through the direct sales system will be Remsima SC, for which we have applied for sales permission in Europe last year," Suh said. "Starting with Europe, we will build a global direct sales network and grow into a global pharmaceutical company."
Remsima SC is a subcutaneous version of Remsima that allows patients to conveniently inject the medicine by themselves without visiting hospitals.