Celltrion expects Covid variants to drive global treatment growth

The Korean biopharmaceutical group Celltrion is betting that a new variant of Covid-19 will drive the growth of treatments for the disease in the United States and Europe, even if these markets vaccinate their populations.

The company expects that its new Covid-19 antibody treatment will generate up to 1.5 billion won (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) in annual sales. A rapidly spreading variant of the coronavirus.

Celltrion is the only Asian developer of the Covid-19 antiviral treatment that received emergency approval from the European Medicines Agency together with Regeneron, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline.

Kee Woo-sung, CEO of Celltrion, told the Financial Times that there is a huge market, such as treatments used to boost the patient’s immune system, and these treatments are working hard to improve their response to disease.

“The Covid-19 vaccine market is larger than the therapeutic market, but the market for therapeutic manufacturers is large enough because production facilities are limited relative to the growing demand,” Kee said.

“We will see that a large number of orders for our treatment is only a matter of time, because Regeneron has no room to increase production, and Eli Lilly admits that there are problems with its treatment in dealing with mutations.”

Celltrion developed CT-P59, Korea’s first indigenous Covid treatment method. The company said last month that in the Phase 3 global clinical trial, the drug significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 70% and shortened the recovery period Nearly 5 days.

In February of this year, it received conditional approval for emergency use of CT-P59 by South Korean health authorities, and it has been used in 6,000 patients in the country. It has signed a contract with Pakistan to provide treatment to 100,000 people.

It has also obtained an emergency use authorization from EMA and is in negotiations with several European countries. Once final EMA approval is obtained, Celltrion is expected to obtain the export of the treatment in August. It is also seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“The most difficult part of developing treatments is how to deal with mutations,” Kee said. “But animal experiments show that our treatment methods can effectively deal with most variations.”

Celltrion plans to announce the results of animal trials of the highly infectious Delta variant first discovered in India later this month. The company’s targets are the United States and Europe, which account for approximately 70% of the global antibody therapy market. This treatment is expensive and difficult to manage because it is an infusion, not a pill.

Celltrion is also researching and developing a Covid-19 vaccine.However, the organization has become a target South Korean short sellers Due to concerns about the valuation of biotech stocks. The company’s operating profit for fiscal year 2020 increased by 88% to 712 billion won.

Some analysts said that considering that Celltrion may enter the US market next year means that it will catch up with Regeneron and Eli Lilly, Won1.5tn’s sales target seems “too optimistic.”

Shinhan Investment analyst Lee Dong-geon predicts that Celltrion will have a 15% share in the US market for Covid-19 antibody treatments and a 25% share in Europe, as the company may sell its treatments at a 30-50% discount Drugs to its competitors.

He said: “As countries speed up vaccination, the number of Covid patients will definitely decline next year.” “As a latecomer, the brand is relatively weak, and there is no sales experience in the United States. It is not easy to get ahead of US opponents .”

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