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THE INVESTOR
October 18, 2018
Big Reunion

Bio & Medicine

Korean biopharma firms seek new business opportunities at US biotech convention

  • PUBLISHED :June 03, 2018 - 16:06
  • UPDATED :June 03, 2018 - 16:06
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[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s major biopharmaceutical companies have headed to Boston this week to take part in the 2018 Bio International Convention, with aims to promote their technologies to interested partners and potentially strike new deals.

The four-day conference, which kicks off on June 4, is considered one of the world’s biggest biotech and pharma industry events. This year’s edition is taking place in Boston, a hub of top-class biotech research institutes, healthcare corporations, startups and investors. 


Visitors look around the Samsung BioLogics booth at the 2017 Bio International Convention held in June 2017.
Samsung BioLogics



Eyeing new opportunities, several Korean biopharma companies will be operating booths at the Boston convention including contract drug manufacturer Samsung BioLogics, biosimilar developer Celltrion and drugmaker Kolon Life Sciences.

Though without booths, many other Korean biopharma firms and startups are set to attend the networking event in the hopes of landing joint R&D partnerships and potential investment deals with foreign partners attending the conference.

Samsung BioLogics is expected to focus on promoting and landing new clients for its drug development support services, on top of its flagship contract manufacturing business where the firm produces biologic drugs based on orders placed by client companies. 

Last year, Samsung BioLogics repositioned itself as a contract development manufacturing organization, or CDMO, which offers more comprehensive services that extend from early drug development all the way to commercial manufacturing.

Every year, Samsung BioLogics CEO Kim Tae-han has been attending the biotech convention to hold direct meetings with the heads of global companies. But for the first time, the CEO won’t be attending the event, due to unresolved regulatory issues with the firm’s accounting practices.

The Samsung-owned drug manufacturer is currently waiting for Korea’s Financial Services Commission to reach a final verdict on whether or not the company violated accounting rules in reporting its profit in 2015.

Meanwhile, Korea’s Celltrion is planning to not only show off its biosimilars lineup — Remsima, Herzuma and Truxima — but also engage in more networking with smaller biotech firms to procure promising drug candidates and new drug development push.

Kolon Life Sciences will focus on promoting Invossa, a novel cell-mediated therapy to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, which was approved and launched in Korea last year. Kolon is planning to embark on US-based phase 3 clinical trials for the drug next month, aiming for commercialization by 2023.

SillaJen has also announced that it would be attending the Boston-based biotech event to meet with potential investors and partners interested in its drug development pipeline, including its oncolytic immunotherapy candidate Pexa-Vec, also known as JX-594, now undergoing phase 3 trials globally.

In addition, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency and the Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization are jointly operating a “Korea booth” at the conference, featuring more than a dozen local biotech firms including Alteogen, Kang Stem Biotech and Corestem.

By Sohn Ji-young/The Korea Herald (jys@heraldcorp.com)

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