Dong-A Socio Holdings had an opening ceremony on May 30 for a DM Bio plant dedicated to manufacturing biosimilar medicines and medical supplies at the Songdo District of Incheon Free Economic Zone.
At the ceremony 150 guests and parties of interest attended including Dong-A Socio Holdings Chairman Gang Shin-ho, CEO Gang Jeong-seok, Dong-A ST Vice Chairman Kim Won-bae, CEO Pak Chan-il, Meiji Seika Pharma CEO Matsuo Masahiko, Head of Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority Lee Jong-cheol, and Samsung Engineering CEOs Pak Jung-heum and Kim Jae-yeol.
The ceremony consisted of a plant tour, factory construction progress tour presented by Dong-A DM Bio CEO Gang Su-hyeong, video for factory promotion, congratulatory message, and tape cutting ceremony.
DM Bio plant is a cGMP factory for manufacturing biopharmaceuticals that meet global standards. It is constructed in the Songdo District of Incheon Free Economic Zone under a comprehensive strategic alliance between Dong-A Socio Holdings and Meiji Seika Pharma to begin the biosimilar business.
The site is 44,000 pyeong (145,455 m2) with a gross area of 6,580 pyeong (21,752 m2). It has three floors above the ground and one floor under the ground for manufacturing, wastewater treatment facilities, hazardous material storage, and a guard room in the second basement. It also has a facility for manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients through animal cell culturing and purification, and is on its way to building a facility for aseptic filling and packaging so that the finished products can be administered to patients.
Both companies are planning to produce the jointly-developed biosimilar drugs at DM Bio plant to enter both the Korean and Japanese markets. The first product is a biosimilar of breast cancer drug Herceptin, which is to be released in 2018. Herceptin is a large-scale biopharmaceutical with a global market of approximately 7 trillion won (US$6.88 billion) and worth 300 billion won (US$295 million) in the Japanese market this year.
After Herceptin, both companies are starting biosimilar development for Humira and Enbrel, a pharmaceutical for rheumatoid arthritis treatments. They are planning to expand their biosimilar business gradually through experience in bio-pharmaceutical development and global market, and the use of their strong global network. Since the regulatory approval of medicines differs by country, requiring customized clinical tests for overseas expansion, Korea and Japan will be the first target market, and the expansion to Europe and the U.S. will be the next step.
Chairman Gang Shin-ho said, “Unlike compound pharmaceuticals, bio-pharmaceuticals require high technology and expertise in the field, and the production infrastructure is crucial to manufacturing this type of pharmaceuticals." He went on to say, "I hope the completion of DM Bio plant becomes the chance that stimulates communication, cooperation, and exchange of technology between Dong-A and Meiji so that we become the leaders in world’s bio market.”