Chmn. Seo says ‘all permission procedures will be completed by the first half of next year, and doses of the COVID-19 treatment that can treat up to 5 million patients will be stockpiled’
Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin speaks as a key-note speaker at the startup event “Next-Rise 2030,” held at COEX in Samseong-dong, Seoul, on June 23.
Celltrion is developing a drug effective for treating COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, which is entering the first phase process of clinical research starting July 16. The Korean biopharmaceutical company plans to create 5 million doses by the first half of 2021.
Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin made the remarks while speaking as a key-note speaker at the startup event “Next-Rise 2030,” held at COEX in Samseong-dong, Seoul, on June 23.
Celltrion has conducted pre-animal clinical trials on the efficacy and toxicity of the drug. Clinical testing targeting hamsters have been already finished, and clinical trials injecting the drug into monkeys have begun this month.
He revealed a plan to complete all clinical testing this year. “All permission procedures will be completed by the first half of next year, and doses of the COVID-19 treatment that can treat up to 5 million patients will be stockpiled at the same time when the permission procedures gets underway,” Chairman Seo said confidently.
Celltrion plans to concentrate on the mass production of the COVID-19 treatment in return for reducing the production of conventional drugs. The biopharmaceutical company plans to secure 1 million doses for Korea and 4 million doses for export.
Celltrion is the sole Korean biopharmaceutical company to conduct the first phase of clinical testing on a new drug substance against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has approved 13 clinical tests.
The 13 drug candidates are similar to those have been used to cure other diseases.
The new drug candidate to cure COVID-19 is an antibody treatment, using immunoprotein of COVID-19 cases.
Eli Lily and Company, a global corporation headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, launched the first phase of a clinical test one month after Celltrion.
Celltrion said a COVID-19 case in Italy was confirmed to be cured one week after the patient was treated by Remsima.
Remsima is the world's first biosimilar monoclonal antibody developed by Celltrion. It was approved by international drug regulatory agencies in about 110 countries, including by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Celltrion began to study Remsima in cooperation with Oxford University.
Chairman Seo predicted that the massive infection rate of COVID-19 will be put to an end in the second half of next year.
Modification of COVID-19 make it three to four times more contagious, so a similar situation like the current one will last before a treatment or a vaccine is made available, he said. Seo said for companies, the COVID-19 crisis could become an opportunity for contactless IT businesses and bio companies.
On the other hand, business, hit hardest by the pandemic, have to retain jobs through a compromise with government, company and labor, he added.
A view of Celltrion’s first plant in Songdo, Incheon. (Photos: Celltrion)