[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion Chairman Seo Jeong-jin said on Sept. 29 that the Korean biosimilar maker is seeking to build its third production line overseas in a bid to soothe concerns of global partners about geopolitical risks here.
“We had planned to locate the third plant in Korea, but we are considering building it abroad following requests by our overseas partners who are sensitive to domestic political issues,” he told shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting, during which they also decided on the company’s relisting on the nation’s main bourse KOSPI from the tech-savvy KOSDAQ.
The chairman added the company will choose a location by the first half of 2018.
Celltrion, which develops cheaper, near-replicas of blockbuster biologic drugs called biosimilar, plans to expand its production capacity from the current 140,000 liters to 310,000 liters in the long term.
Under the plan, the firm will invest about 325.1 billion won (US$283.65 million) for the 120,000-liter new plant, while increasing the capacity of the existing first plant to 100,000 liters from 50,000 liters.
“The expansion work for the first plant is sailing smoothly,” Seo said. The plant’s expanded production is expected to start from 2019.
Celltion has been beefing up production as its biosimilar products such as Remsima, its version of Johnson & Johnson’s top-selling rheumatoid arthritis treatment, and Truxima, knockoff of Roche’s Rituxan, are gaining traction fast in European markets.
After the EGM, Celltrion CEO Kim Hyeong-gi said the firm’s planned move to the KOSPI will take place in January or February next year, citing the evaluation process.
Celltrion, the largest KOSDAQ-listed firm with a market capitalization of 13 trillion won (US$11.40 billion), is expected to become one of the top 17 KOSPI companies if it completes the relisting.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)