Korean biopharma industry reorganizes business to stay competitive post-COVID

2020.04.28 13:22:06 | 2020.04.28 13:22:31

[Photo provided by GC Pharma Group]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by GC Pharma Group]

Korean biopharmaceutical companies have begun to reorganize their business from the event of the coronavrius pandemic, jettisoning low margin operations while preparing for new growth opportunities in emerging areas such as healthcare big data analytics.

GC MS, the blood bag manufacturer under GC Pharma Group, has decided to sell its blood bag business to a local small company in order to more focus on point-of-care diagnostics business. Blood bags are used to preserve blood for transfusion. GC MS once enjoyed monopoly in the blood bag business before growing losses due to fierce competition with global rivals. Operating losses from the business came to 5.8 billion won in 2018 and 4.4 billion won in 2019.

SK Chemicals agreed to sell its bio-energy business to local private equity firm Hahn & Company for 380 billion won last February to focus on its biopharmaceutical business. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of May.

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Some are rushing to spin off promising business units to propel growth. Genome analysis company Theragen Etex will separate its genome business unit to create Theragen Bio on May 4. The new entity will support drug development of pharmaceutical companies based on genomic big data and conduct research on a tailored cancer vaccine.

Telecommunication firm RFTech launched RF Bio (tentative) as a spin-off to strengthen its new hyaluronic acid filler and other aesthetic products.

GC Healthcare plans to complete its planned acquisition of UbiCare this month to create synergy in digital healthcare. UbiCare is the largest electronic medical record (EMR) solution provider in Korea, operating a healthcare network connecting some 23,900 hospitals, clinics and pharmacies across the country.

On Mar. 21, GC Healthcare integrated big data consultancy Able Analytics as a subsidiary. The two companies aim to develop new healthcare solutions to deal with a customer segmentation model in obesity and metabolic syndromes.

By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim

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