[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion on May 11 reported a sharp rise in first-quarter net profit on the back of strong sales of its biosimilar Remsima in the US and Europe.
The Korean biopharmaceutical firm said net profit rose to 67.1 billion won (US$59.40 million) in the first three months compared with 11.8 billion won a year earlier -- a 468 percent increase.
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“The huge leap in profits is driven by Remsima which replaced an original biologic product in the overseas markets,” a company official said.
Remsima, which goes by the name of Inflectra in the US, is a cheaper biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade.
The company’s operating profit surged 231.3 percent to 89.4 billion won while revenue grew by 81.2 percent to 196.6 billion won in the period.
Celltrion has been expanding its foothold in the main biosimilar markets -- the US and Europe -- by launching its copycat versions of big pharma firms’ top selling medications in partnership with global firms like Pfizer and Teva.
Remsima took away around 41 percent of Remicade’s market share in Europe, the most advanced biosimilar market, and launched the drug in the US in November last year.
According to the firm, another biosimilar Truxima, a copycat version of Roche’s blockbuster lymphatic cancer treatment Rituxan, is expected to generate more revenue and contribute to its profits this year.
In February, Truxima scored approval from the European Medicines Agency to sell the product in the market.
By Park Han-na (email@example.com)