SEOUL -- Celltrion, a leading biosimilar manufacturer in South Korea, has signed a joint development agreement with Intract Pharma, a British bio company, to develop oral infliximab in the form of pills. Infliximab is the basic ingredient of Remsima, a copy of Janssen Biotech's Remicade treating rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.
Celltrion said in a statement it would provide infliximab as a raw material for clinical trials, while Intract is in charge of development and verification based on its oral formulation technology that efficiently delivers protein medicines such as antibodies to the intestines.
Celltrion said it would secure rights to preferred negotiation upon completion of second-stage clinical trials and receive part of sales in royalties when exporting technology. Even if Intract or a third party succeeds in commercializing it, Celltrion will provide infliximab exclusively for the production of commercial materials. Intract is to launch clinical trials next year for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Celltrion has unveiled Remsima SC, the subcutaneous injection of Remsima, that can ben injected into the fat layer beneath the skin at home. The company has adopted an aggressive strategy to secure profitability and price penetration in competition with other subcutaneous-type products such as Adalimumab sold under the brand name of Humira, which is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines.
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