[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion may cut Inflectra’s price in the US to as much as half the price of Johnson & Johnson’s original drug Remicade, the top executive of the firm revealed at a premier investor conference focused exclusively on the health care industry on Jan. 10.
“We are discussing ways to price Inflectra at a 50 percent discount over the original drug with our marketing partner Pfizer. We believe that this may be possible by cutting manufacturing costs and distribution margins,” Celltrion CEO Seo Jung-jin said during a session at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in the US.
The discount strategy comes as Inflectra still has a less than 2 percent market share, although its US distributor Pfizer released it in late 2016 at a 15 percent discount over Remicade’s price. Later, the price gap widened to 19 percent.
Adding to Celltrion’s woes, its crosstown rival Samsung Bioepis launched its version -- Renflexis -- at a list price of US$753.39 in July 2017, a 35 percent discount over Remicade.
“Biosimilars cannot become readily available for patients and physicians if they are costly,” said Seo. “If we cut prices by up to 50 percent, we believe the market share can top 80 percent.”
The chairman also announced plans to build the third manufacturing plant with an additional capacity of 360,000 liters, three times bigger than the originally planned 120,000 liters.
The decision was made to “realize economies of scale and cost effectiveness,” he said.
Celltrion said it would build the third plant outside Korea, but didn’t specify a location. The total production capacity will rise to 500,000 liters to overtake Boehringer Ingelheim, which has 330,000 liters, and Samsung BioLogics, which has 364,000 liters. Construction will begin in the second half of this year.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)