The Korea Herald


Korean drug firms eye growth in South America

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Published : Sept. 15, 2019 - 17:22

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Korean pharmaceutical companies are making inroads into Central and South America, betting on steady growth of markets in the region.

Samsung Bioepis, Celltrion Healthcare, Boryung Pharmaceutical, CJ HealthCare and Hanmi Pharmaceutical all announced in the first half of 2019 that they would begin or expand commercialization of flagship drugs overseas.

Samsung Bioepis, the novel bio drug development arm of Samsung BioLogics, said Tuesday that it has begun sales of its autoimmune disease treatment Brenzys (etanercept) in Brazil, the biggest biopharmaceuticals market in South America. Brenzys is an Enbrel biosimilar being sold in Europe under the name Benepali. 

(Samsung Bioepis) (Samsung Bioepis)

Samsung Bioepis has inked a deal with Brazilian pharma Bionovis and state-governed research institution BioManguinhos to transfer drug manufacturing technology in exchange for Brenzys’ introduction to the Brazilian market.

For the first 10 years from the signing of the deal, Samsung Bioepis has the rights to Brenzys’ revenue. For the subsequent 10 years, it will receive royalties.

Celltrion Healthcare said Thursday that it held a symposium in Santiago, Chile, earlier in September to introduce rheumatoid arthritis biosimilar Truxima (rituximab). The company will hold more launching symposiums within the month in Peru and Brazil, where it will introduce Truxima and breast cancer biosimilar Herzuma (trastuzumab). In November, a similar event will be held in Colombia for Truxima.

Celltrion Healthcare operates six local entities in the Central and South American region.

The market for trastuzumab in Brazil is estimated to be around 270 billion won ($229 million), accounting for over half of the Central and South American region.

Meanwhile, Hanmi Pharmaceutical will launch its combination drugs for hypertension in Mexico through its newly forged partnership with local pharma company Silanes.

Silanes will apply for commercialization of Hanmi’s Amozaltan Plus and Amozaltan Q tablets in Mexico. The partners expect sales to begin from the second quarter of 2021 and to continue for five years for a volume worth some $10 million.

Hanmi said Wednesday that it has received the first milestone payment from Silanes, but it refrained from revealing the amount due to a non-disclosure clause in the deal.

In August, Boryung Pharmaceutical signed a commercialization deal for its antihypertensive drug Dukarb in Mexico.

Meanwhile, CJ HealthCare has been selling gastric acid blocker K-Cab tablets in 17 countries in the region since February.

The Central and South American biopharmaceutical market is estimated to be worth 1 trillion won, with the highest demand in Brazil.

Brazil’s pharmaceutical market has recorded annual growth of 9.5 percent for the past five years. It is expected to be worth $29.7 billion in 2021.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (