[Photo by Yonhap]
South Korea’s Celltrion Inc. achieved record high earnings last year thanks to upbeat biosimilar sales in overseas markets and improved production efficiency following the completed expansion of its first plant, shrugging off Covid-19 challenges.
The company on Monday announced in a regulatory filing that its 2020 consolidated operating profit surged 88.4 percent from a year ago to 712.1 billion won ($640.4 million), while sales increased 63.9 percent to 1.8 trillion won and net profit soared 74.3 percent to 519.2 billion won. The operating margin was 38.5 percent.
Sales for the fourth quarter ended December, 2020 came to 498.7 billion won, up 30.3 percent from the same period of the previous year but down 9.1 percent from the previous quarter. Operating profit over the same period reached 164.7 billion won, up 44.3 percent on year but down 32.8 percent on quarter.
The launches of its new biosimilars, as well as improved production efficiency following the expansion of its first factory helped boost its sales on a year-on-year basis, but the fourth-quarter earnings declined on quarter due to reduced biosimilar output and ballooned cost from the development of its Covid-19 cure CT-P59, or Rekirona, the company said.
Demand for its key biosimilars remained strong in Europe. As of the end of the third quarter last year, the market share of its autoimmune disease biosimilar Remsima in Europe was 52.8 percent, with blood cancer biosimilar Truxima 38 percent, and breast cancer biosimilar Herzuma 15.9 percent.
In the U.S., biosimilar sales showed steady growth with Remsima’s market share reaching 11.8 percent and Truxima 19.8 percent at the end of the fourth quarter.
Celltrion said it will seek growth this year by developing follow-up biosimilars, launching Covid-19 cure globally, and increasing production through the establishment of its third plant.
Celltrion is conducting Phase 3 clinical trials of CT-P16 (Avastin), CT-P39 (Xolaire), and CT-P41 (Prolia) in the follow-up biosimilar pipeline projects with an aim of receiving regulatory approval for at least one product every year until 2030.
Shares of Celltrion closed 4.36 percent lower at 296,000 won on Tuesday.
By Kim Si-gyun and Minu Kim
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