Celltrion wins biosimilar deals and Duopharma increases focus on biosimilars in SE Asia

Biosimilars/General | Posted 22/03/2019 post-comment0 Post your comment

Celltrion Healthcare (Celltrion) has won tenders to supply infliximab to Singapore and rituximab to Thailand, while CCM Duopharma Biotech Bhd (CCMD) aims to increase revenue contribution from its biosimilar products from 22% to over 25%.


On 7 March 2019, Celltrion Healthcare announced that it had won separate one-year contracts to supply Remsima (biosimilar infliximab) to Singapore and Truxima (biosimilar rituximab) to Thailand. These are the first agreements since Celltrion established its direct-to-market sales system in Asia in 2016. Remsima is indicated for the treatment of auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease, and Truxima is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and blood cancer.

In Singapore, Celltrion’s Remsima will account for 80% of the total infliximab biosimilar market, while in Thailand, Truxima will account for 70% of the total rituximab biosimilar market. In 2018, Remsima achieved a 50% market share in Singapore which is a dramatic increase from the 5% and 10% market share in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Celltrion expects the market share for Remsima to rapidly increase, as the Singapore government is promoting biosimilars to healthcare professionals and patients, by developing policies and generating and distributing data. Thailand is the second largest market in the Southeast Asian region, with a market size of about US$5 billion. Its biotechnology industry is rapidly expanding as a result of government policies promoting the prescription of biopharmaceuticals.

Previously, Celltrion made a licensing agreement for Truxima with Jordan-based drugmaker Hikma Pharmaceuticals (Hikma) in December 2017. Hikma has exclusive agreements with Celltrion for the marketing of three biosimilars – Truxima, Remsima and Herzuma (trastuzumab) – in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region [1].

Malaysia-based CCMD aims to raise revenue contribution of its biosimilar products from its current 22% to over 25%, after identifying the segment as a key growth area for the company following the government’s higher allocation for health services under Budget 2019. CCMD’s Group Managing Director Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar said CCMD was looking to supply erythropoietin (EPO) for kidney treatment to the government, as well as more oncology products. CCMD plans to launch its biosimilar EPO product Erisa which it co-developed with PanGen Biotech by April 2019, following sales approval from Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency in February 2019 [2]. It also plans to open a manufacturing facility for oncology products (the first such facility in Malaysia) by the third quarter of 2019.

‘For this year and the next two years, biosimilar and oncology will be the big drivers of our results. We will be putting out more products, especially from the local manufacturing of oncology products’, said Leonard Ariff.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilar deals for Hikma and Lupin [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Mar 22]. Available from: www:gabionline.net/Pharma-News/Biosimilar-deals-for-Hikma-and-Lupin  
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. PanGen gains Malaysian approval for epoetin alfa biosimilar [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Mar 22]. Available from: www:gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/PanGen-gains-Malaysian-approval-for-epoetin-alfa-biosimilar

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