Korean manufacturers of biosimilar products are making a foray into Japan, the third largest pharmaceutical market in the world.
Celltrion and LG Chem have recently geared up to secure the Japanese biosimilar market where major Japanese drugmakers such as Daiichi Sankyo, Fujifilm Pharma, Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical, and Meiji Holdings are already developing their own products.
Celltrion in 2014 won approval in Japan for Remsima (infliximab), the first Korean firm to do so.
The drugmaker obtained sales license for Herzuma (trastuzumab) this year. The company picked Nippon Kayaku as a partner firm to promote Truxima (rituximab) in 2017.
LG Chem plans to sell Etanercept BS, a biosimilar referencing Enbrel in Japan. The company is conducting a phase-3 study on LBAL, a Humira biosimilar, in Japan.
Dong-A ST is testing biosimilars of Herceptin, Aranesp, and Humira via DM Bio, a joint venture between Dong-A ST and Meiji Seika Pharma.
Aprogen is soon to commercialize NI-071, a Remicade biosimilar, in Japan, after Celltrion’s Remsima.
Chong Kun Dang is also working on a Nesp biosimilar (darbepoetin alfa). The company earlier signed a deal with a Japanese unit of a U.S.-based company to export CKD-11101.
“Biosimilars are in early stages in Japan, the third largest pharmaceutical market after the U.S. and Europe. To secure the market first, Korean companies are accelerating their biosimilar business there,” a pharmaceutical source said. “They are enhancing partnerships with Japanese firms over joint drug development and joint sales.”
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