Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin/Courtesy of Celltrion

Korean biosimilar maker promises to invest $34 billion

Celltrion, a Korean biosimiar manufacturer, strives to surpass U.S. juggernaut Pfizer by 2030, according to the former’s Chairman Seo Jung-jin on May 16.

Toward that end, Seo said that the Incheon-based company will invest 40 trillion won ($34 billion) by 2030.

By then, we may not be able to catch up with Pfizer in annual sales. But our profits would match those of Pfizer,” Seo told a press conference.

It is a very ambitious goal for a company whose annual sales are less than $1 billion to attempt to surpass Pfizer in 10 years. Worse, its bottom line plunged last year.

Last year, Celltrion reached the highest revenue with 982.1 billion won, which is less than $900 million. It also netted some $220 million in profits, down 34.3 percent from a year ago.

In comparison, Pfizer’s turnover and net income topped $53 billion and $11 billion last year, respectively.

In other words, what Chairman Seo vows is that Celltrion will increase its net profit by 50 times over the next decade.

This is not the first time for Seo, who founded Celltrion in 2002, to come up with long-term goals that seem almost impossible.

At a shareholders meeting this March, Seo also said that Celltrion will be able to reach 30 trillion won ($26 billion) in sales by 2027 after achieving 5 trillion won for next year.

Anyway, Seo expressed his confidence to attain the seemingly impossible goal with big investments.

Among the $34 billion investment, 62.5 percent will be channeled into the company’s main business of biosimilar production to create some 10,000 jobs at the company and 100,000 at its partner firms.

Seo said that the company will use 25 percent of the investment to generate its future cash cows such as artificial intelligence-based medical services.

The remaining 12.5 percent will be funneled into its facility in Ochang, around 100 kilometers south of Seoul.


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