Bio names lead Korean pharmaceutical export gains

2021.03.24 15:41:15 | 2021.03.24 15:42:22

[Photo provided by Celltrion Inc.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Celltrion Inc.]

Pharmaceutical exports by South Korea gained 23 percent on year to over $3 billion last year, of which more than half came from Celltrion and Samsung names to suggest widening gap with bio and traditional players.

The export volume of 40 major Korean pharmaceutical and biotech companies amounted to 4 trillion won ($3.43 billion) last year, up 23 percent from 3.27 trillion won. The bulk came from biosimilar developers and their affiliated companies such as Celltrion, Celltrion Healthcare, Samsung Biologics and Samsung Bioepis, according to their business reports available as of Tuesday.

Celltrion Healthcare, the distributor of biosimilars from Celltrion, reported 1.62 trillion won in exports last year, up by 32 percent from 1.1 trillion won in 2019. Samsung Biologics posted 868.2 billion won in exports based on its global contract manufacturing deals last year, up 43 percent from 494.5 billion won a year ago.

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Samsung Bioepis, with more than 90 percent of sales coming from overseas, reported 777.4 billion won in revenue last year, up by 2 percent from 2019.

In contrast, exports by other Korean pharmas and biotechs either contracted or remained stagnant.

The combined exports from the 38 companies excluding Celltrion and Samsung Biologics came to 1.51 trillion won in 2020, down by 9 percent from 1.67 trillion won. Among the large pharmas, Daewoong Pharmaceutical showed the steepest decline in exports by posting 44.8 billion won in 2020, down from 88.8 billion won in 2019.

Yuhan was another big pharma whose exports dwindled significantly. Hanmi, Dong-A ST and Handok also experienced a decline in exports.

By Kim Si-gyun and Minu Kim

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