South Korea’s major pharmaceutical companies are planning to make big investments in research and development this year to boost their competitiveness, industry sources said Thursday.
Hanmi Pharmaceutical and five others are among the country’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies expected to invest 100 billion won ($82.7 million) or more this year.
Hanmi, which clinched a number of megahit licensing deals last year, will be the top investor with 210 billion won, followed by Green Cross Corp. with 120 billion won and Yuhan Corp. with 100 billion won. Dong-A Socio Holdings, Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical and Daewoong Pharma are also among the leading investors.
The latest plans mark a significant change from 2015, when Hanmi Pharmaceutical was the only player that allocated more than 100 billion won for research and development.
In 2015, Hanmi Pharmaceutical signed a $4 billion license deal with French drugmaker Sanofi to develop diabetes treatments and a $915 million deal to export a diabetes and obesity treatment drug to Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Industry watchers said the drugmakers’ efforts to expand investments reflect a change in their business strategies to focus on foreign countries rather than the domestic market.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said earlier this month that South Korea shipped out 2.54 trillion won worth of medical drugs in 2014, up 9 percent, or 210 billion won, from the year before.