[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion, which has successfully launched its biosimilar products in global markets, is now tapping into the bio contract development and manufacturing business seeking partners for new drug development, the company said on June 5.
Celltrion’s CDMO business aims to collaborate with research institutes and biotech firms, possessing new drug candidate molecules to expand its biosimilar-centered drug pipeline. The company will initially focus on drug candidates for autoimmune diseases, breast cancer, blood cancer and cardiovascular diseases, areas that Celltrion has experience in while developing its copy versions of blockbuster biologic drugs including J&J’s Remicade and Roche’s Herceptin.
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“Celltrion plans to support partners by sharing the accumulated biologics development expertise and could provide development cost or license in the molecule through consultations and discussion,” the company said in a statement.
Bio CDMO refers to outsourcing of biologic cell line development and production process, and outsourcing of non-clinical material, clinical material, and commercialized material.
The Incheon-based biopharma firm made the announcement at the 2018 BIO International Convention, the world’s premier life sciences event being held in Boston, June 4-7. “At 2018 BIO USA, Celltrion is not only promoting the new CDMO business, but is also meeting with potential partnership candidates. Through various “open innovation strategies”, including this new CDMO business, Celltrion will expand its new drug pipeline portfolio and take a closer step in becoming a global biopharmaceutical corporation,” an official said.
The move comes as Celltrion’s core biosimilar drugs -- Remsima, Truxima and Herzuma -- have already hit markets or are waiting to clear final regulatory hurdles in the US and EU.
With the new business plan, Celltrion is getting ready to take a leap forward in riskier and time-consuming new drug development while the biosimilar trio are highly expected to create stable revenue for the firm.
In February, Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin expressed his willingness to go beyond biosimilars by announcing plans for the development of pneumonia vaccine.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)