Korean drugmakers and bio companies, buoyed by Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s strong performance last year, are seeking overseas markets, industry sources said Wednesday.
Global pharmaceutical companies’ perception of Korean industries has also become far more favorable, thanks to Hanmi’s successive contracts for technology export, encouraging the latter’s advance to foreign markets, they said.
Taking the lead is Chong Kun Dang, which has been conducting clinical tests for its biosimilar product of anemia remedy CKD-11101 at home, but is planning to expand the experiment and marketing to Japan, based on its recent contract with Fuji Pharmaceutical.
The Korean company, regarded as the front-runner among developers of the Nesp biosimilar, plans first to advance to Japan – with a market of 600 billion won ($502 million) – and hopes to compete in global markets, estimated to be 2.5 trillion won, with the original Nesp treatment, as they are called among Japanese consumers.
“It will be the first case of our biomedicine development advancing to global markets,” said a company executive. “We will continue to target this rapidly growing market.”
Daewoo Pharmaceutical has developed a generic antibiotic used broadly for treating pneumonia, blood poisoning and severe bacterial infection. Global maker Astra Zeneca developed the original drug, Merem, with a market size of 200 billion won in the United States alone. Daewoong, which recently won the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, plans to expand to the Middle East and Latin American markets.
Qurient, a bio venture, succeeded in having its tuberculosis remedy selected as a subject for state-assisted research and development efforts in 2013. It has since completed the non-clinical-stage development of the drug and entered into the clinical-test stage, expecting further government support.
Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s recent developments are also likely to continue to attract clients from abroad. Market leader Yuhan has also recently stepped up its R&D efforts, particularly in diabetes treatment and for a remedy for regressive slipped disks. In the biosimilar sector, Samsung Bioepis and Celltrion are awaiting approvals from the EU and U.S. authorities, respectively, which, if they materialize, would help speed up the Korean pharmaceutical industry’s emergence in global markets, the sources said.