2020-12-01| Asia-PacificR&D

Two South Korean Companies Look to Capture the Biosimilars Market Worth Billions

by Tyler Chen
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As the biosimilar market grew exponentially, two Korea-based pharma companies Samsung Bioepis and Celltrion, have made their move to dig the biosimilars market worth about 90 billion (100 trillion won) by investing billions of dollars in R&D and expanding factories.


Holding an Edge Over Biosimilars

Biosimilars are medical products that are highly similar and has no clinically meaningful differences to the already approved biomedicines whose patent is expired. Scientists will take a few years ahead to analyze the content and try to recreate a new one. Since the researching teams don’t need to start from scratch, biosimilars are easier to develop, and the cost is lower.

It is estimated that biosimilars take about 7 to 8 years to develop, while the original drugs require 8 to 10 years. What’s more, the cost is around one-eighth of the original, so biosimilars are cheaper to the consumer and more competitive in the market. So it is safe to assume that biosimilars will become one of the leading battlegrounds in the pharmaceutical market in 10 years.

What’s more, compared to 2019, the number of approved biosimilars in the US rose 65%, and the number of available biosimilars climb 157%, showing great potential in the market.

With all those advantages aside, biosimilars do have their challenges. First of all, it could only wait until the patent expired, not able to reach the consumer as soon as possible. Then, developing biosimilars needs to make sure the equivalence level of the drugs and should be proven safe in the process.


Investing Billions to Break into the Market

The Korea-based duo separately decided to invest billions in biosimilars development, prepping its pipeline in advance, waiting for countless companies to enter the market.

Celltrion has decided to invest around 36 billion (40 trillion won) in the biopharmaceutical industry by 2030 and developed 20 second-generation biosimilars about immunotherapy for cancer. On the other hand, Celltrion planned to build a 1 million worth biopharmaceutical production facility, boosting its production power.

Samsung Bioepis aims at the US and European markets with treatments of ophthalmic, rare diseases, and musculoskeletal diseases that are still in development. Furthermore, it has signed supply contracts to Chinese and Brazilian markets and is expected to locate production plants in various locations.

It is also clear that Samsung Bioepis and Celltrion are obtaining approvals of biosimilars such as Lucentis and Ilia for eye diseases, Soliris for blood diseases, Prolia for skeletal diseases, and Humira for autoimmune diseases, which patents are about to expire in 2020 to 2025.

By Tyler Chen

Related Article:3SBio Partnering with Samsung Bioepis Co-developing Bevacizumab Biosimilar for NSCLC




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