Biotech firms mull preemptive measures to contain fallout from trade war with Japan

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : August 9, 2019, 08:25 | Updated : August 9, 2019, 08:25

[Courtesy of Celltrion]

SEOUL -- Anxiety over Japan's export restrictions lead South Korean biotech firms to take preemptive measures aimed at blocking supply uncertainty. The Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization (KoreaBio) is conducting a survey of items that could be affected by a trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Items, which can be subject to Japan's export control include microbial toxins and biological equipment such as incubators, centrifuges, cross-flow filtration systems, freeze dryers, protective equipment and bio-safety cabinets.

"There is a change in the situation to remove uncertainties internally." KoreaBio vice-chairman Lee Seung-gyu said. "Some companies are considering this move," he said, adding that changing materials used in manufacturing processes require new facilities and require certification.

"There is a burden on these changes, but it is not impossible," Lee said. "Companies are judging from a long-term perspective as a way of relieving anxiety."

Celltrion plans to find alternative materials. Among those affected by Japan's trade restrictions is a filter that filters out impurities such as viruses. "As we have stocked virus filters that can be used for more than a year, we are not worried about immediate damage," a Celltrion official said.

"Some raw materials from Japan, except for virus filters, are unlikely to be affected, but we decided to replace all because we don't know what will happen," the official said.
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