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Lotte to acquire stake in bio venture: report

Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin attends a Value Creation Meeting (VCM) held at Lotte World Tower in Seoul on July 14, 2020. (Lotte Group)
Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin attends a Value Creation Meeting (VCM) held at Lotte World Tower in Seoul on July 14, 2020. (Lotte Group)


South Korea’s retail-to-construction conglomerate Lotte is considering acquiring a significant stake in Enzychem Lifesciences to become its second-largest shareholder, a local newspaper reported Monday.

The group’s de facto holding firm Lotte Holdings and Lotte Chemical would jointly buy the shares, the report said, which would be the conglomerate’s first attempt at a biotech business.

The group is also eyeing a joint venture with Enzychem to further its interest in the field, with the total investment possibly exceeding 150 billion won ($133 million). Detailed plans for the investment are likely to be discussed before the general shareholders meeting scheduled for Friday, the report said.

Lotte Group declined to confirm the reported investment plan, saying only, “Nothing has been decided.”

Founded in 1999, Enzychem Lifesciences is a local biopharmaceutical company that develops novel drug materials and operates a contract manufacturing business with its own facilities. The company is currently developing therapeutic candidate EC-18, which is in a phase 2 clinical trial for patients with acute respiratory disease syndrome, after the US Food and Drug Administration accepted the company’s investigational new drug application.

If realized, it will become the first time for Lotte Group to dip its toe in the industry. The group was founded in 1947.

By Shim Woo-hyun(ws@heraldcorp.com)
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