The Korea Herald


Biopharma firms suffer W55tr loss in market cap in 2022

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Jan. 1, 2023 - 17:58

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

South Korea’s major biopharma companies were hit by a combined loss of 55 trillion won ($43.5 billion) in their market capitalization last year, Korea Exchange data showed Sunday.

According to Korea Exchange, the KRX Health Care Index, comprising 83 major biotech and pharmaceutical companies listed on either the benchmark Kospi or tech-heavy Kosdaq, fell 29.2 percent on-year to 2,634.49 points as of Thursday, from 3,721.17 on Dec. 30, 2021.

The combined market capitalization of the 83 listed companies likewise went down by 55.1 trillion won in 2022 to 167 trillion won, from 222 trillion won in 2021.

During the same period, the Kospi and Kosdaq fell 25 percent and 34 percent, respectively.

Many companies that had initially boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic have been hit particularly hard amid the local stock market's downward trend.

SK Bioscience posted the largest loss in market valuation during 2022. Over the one-year period, the market valuation of SK Bioscience fell by around 11.6 trillion won, down 67.2 percent.

Market valuation of SK Bioscience increased over the pandemic, particularly backed by its contract manufacturing organization deal with AstraZeneca. The company also succeeded in the development and launch of its own COVID-19 vaccine SKY Covione, which provided a positive sign to investors.

But, the expiration of the SK Bioscience-AstraZeneca deal contributed to steep declines in the company's sales. Sales from the company's own SKY Covione vaccine too remained significantly lower than the company expected, making it difficult for the company to make up its losses this year.

Celltrion saw a drop of 4.7 trillion won in market valuation, down 18.9 percent. Celltrion Healthcare and Celltrion Pharm also posted 3.2 trillion won and 2 trillion won in losses, respectively, in market capitalization, down 27.7 percent and 46.2 percent.

South Korean diagnostics manufacturer SD Biosensor, which had grown fast during the COVID-19 pandemic, reported heavy losses as well. The company that specializes in in vitro diagnostics saw a loss of some 2.6 trillion won in market valuation last year, falling by 46.1 percent.

Seegene, another in vitro diagnostic products maker here, also reported a loss of 1.7 trillion won in market valuation, bringing down the company’s value by 55.4 percent.

Other large biotech and pharmaceutical companies that saw significant drops in market capitalization included Hanmi Science (39 percent), ST Pharm (36.6 percent), Alteogen (39.4 percent) and GC Pharma (40.6 percent).

In the meantime, Samsung Biologics and Yuhan avoided severe damages, keeping their losses in market capitalization at 2.2 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, there were some companies that posted growth in market capitalization despite challenges in the stock market. Hanmi Pharmaceutical’s market capitalization grew 8 percent to reach 337.1 billion won, while that of Daewoong Pharmaceutical went up 7.2 percent to 121.7 billion won.