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Celltrion to co-develop pill-type autoimmune disease drug with UK startup

Aug 20, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Biosimilar maker Celltrion Inc. has agreed to develop a tablet-type treatment for autoimmune diseases jointly with the UK biotech startup Intract Pharma, the South Korean company said on August 20, a move seen as an effort to expand its presence in the monoclonal antibody biosimilar market.

Both companies will develop a pill version of infliximab, the main ingredient of Celltrion’s monoclonal antibody biosimilar Remsima.

The agreement comes after Celltriont developed the world’s first intravenous injection and subcutaneous (SC)-injection types of Remsima, a biosimilar version of Janssen’s Remicade which is also a brand name of infliximab.


Celltrion controls more than half the market of biosimilar versions of Remicade in Europe. The recent introduction of the SC-injection type is expected to help the Korean biosimilar maker increase its market share, given that Janssen and other biosimilar makers have not yet developed the SC-injection type of infliximab.

Under the agreement, Celltrion will supply its infliximab biosimilar as a raw material for clinical trials to Intract Pharma. The UK biotech company will be responsible for the tablet-type development and clinical tests, using its oral immunotherapy technology designed to push the molecules of a drug absorbed into the blood through the intestinal wall.

Celltrion will also secure priority rights over the new development upon completion of second-phase clinical trials. If they transfer the technology to a third company, Celltrion will receive part of the sales as royalties.

Additionally, Celltrion will supply its infliximab biosimilar exclusively to the third company when it succeeds in commercializing the oral-version treatment, using their technology.

Both companies are exempted from first-phase non-clinical and clinical tests for the oral infliximab. Intract Pharma will kick off second-phase clinical trials next year for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.

By Woo-sub Kim

Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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