The Korea Herald


Lotte Biologics to begin ADC production in 2025

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Oct. 30, 2023 - 16:44

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Lotte Biologics CEO Lee Won-jik speaks during a press meeting in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday. (Lotte Biologics) Lotte Biologics CEO Lee Won-jik speaks during a press meeting in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday. (Lotte Biologics)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Lotte Biologics will begin antibody-drug conjugate manufacturing at its site near Syracuse, New York, starting in the first quarter of 2025, according to CEO Lee Won-jik, who also goes by Richard Lee. The company expects its ADC production to account for some 10 percent of its total sales in 10 years, Lee added.

“Lotte Biologics is building an ADC facility within its Syracuse facilities. The company expects the construction to be completed by 2024 and the operation to begin by the first quarter of 2025,” Lee said in a meeting with local media at the Convention on Pharmaceutical Ingredients Worldwide, known as CPHI, in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday.

ADCs are a rapidly emerging class of biopharmaceuticals to target cancer cells, unlike conventional chemotherapy treatments that also damage healthy cells.

Lee said the company has invested $80 million to convert a former animal laboratory at its Syracuse facilities and add single-use bioreactors to enable the production of clinical and commercial ADC products.

“Many overseas companies, including the ones from Japan, have expressed their interests in Lotte Biologics’ ADC business during this year’s CPHI,” Lee said. “Some were looking for potential partnership with us as they were trying to decouple from China,” Lee added.

The addition of ADC services is part of a major growth strategy for Lotte Biologics, according to Lee.

“Lotte Biologics will aim to generate 1.5 trillion won ($1.1 billion) of sales after a decade. Sales from ADCs production will account for around 10 percent of the total, while the rest will come from production of antibody drugs,” Lee said.

According to Lotte Biologics, the company is not considering cell and gene therapy production at the moment.

When asked if Lotte Biologics will develop biosimilar products, like its competitor Samsung Biologics, Lee answered that the company has no plan to start a biosimilar business. “Lotte Biologics plans to focus only on the CDMO business,” Lee said, outlining the company as a contract development and manufacturing organization.

Lee also shared the plan for the company's three large plants in Songdo, Incheon.

Lee said the first plant will be Good Manufacturing Practice ready by the end of 2026 and begin its commercial operation in 2027. The second and third plants will be completed around 2028 and 2030 to increase the company’s combined manufacturing capacity to 360,000 liters.

Lotte Biologics currently plans to build the first and second plants upon fundraising. Earlier in March this year, the company announced a pain-in capital increase of 212 billion won, in which Lotte Holdings also participated.

Between 2027 and 2028, Lotte Biologics intends to go public to raise additional money for the third plant, according to Lee.

Lee also expects many job openings in the next few years as the company builds new plants. According to Lee, each plant will require around 800-1,000 employees, and around 3,000 employees will work at its Songdo complex when its third plant goes fully operational.

Lotte Biologics is also looking into options to acquire new manufacturing facilities in Europe too, although there is no specific candidate yet, Lee added.

Meanwhile, Lotte Biologics has participated in the CPHI for a second consecutive year. The company set up its own exhibition booth to promote its future business plan, as well as the brand.

“Brand awareness of Lotte Group is high in Asia, but it has been relatively low in Europe and the US. Lotte Biologics’ main focus at the moment is to increase brand recognition in the major pharmaceutical market,” Lee said.