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Celltrion to reinforce HIV drug development

Celltrion’s plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province (Celltrion)
Celltrion’s plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province (Celltrion)
Celltrion Pharm, a chemical drugs unit under the wing of Celltrion Group, has vowed to push harder to advance its human immunodeficiency virus drug pipeline, to move ahead of competitors that face a slowdown in pharmaceutical supply due to COVID-19.

Celltrion Pharm said Friday that it will increase its workforce by 15 percent for its plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, to run the facility around the clock for an expanded attention to its HIV treatment pipeline, CT-G7.

This is a strategy to target the temporary vacancy in pharmaceuticals supply chain incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Celltrion Pharm said.

The recent pandemic has prompted a lock-down in India, a major pharmaceuticals ingredient supplier for global chemical pharma firms. The factories in India are running at a 30 percent lower operation rate than usual, leading to development hurdles for competitors pursuing HIV treatments, according to Celltrion Pharm.

Seizing this as an opportunity, the company will equip its Cheongju plant with exclusive manufacturing lines for CT-G7.

It has sufficient raw materials to make the pharmaceutical and is suffering no setbacks from the business slowdown in India, a Celltrion Pharm official told The Korea Herald.

CT-G7 is Celltrion’s independently developed HIV treatment that has gained tentative approval from the US’ Food and Drug Administration in April.

The global market for HIV treatments as of 2019 came up to around $1 billion Celltrion said, citing Clinton Health Access Initiative.

Celltrion has set the goal of reaching 120 billion won ($100 million) in annual revenue, a 10 percent share of the global market for HIV drugs. The company envisions expanding its market dominance to 20 percent in the long run.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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