Shown above is Celltrion’s COVID-19 treatment dubbed Rekirona. The Korean pharmaceutical firm said that the drug was proved to be safe and efficient at its phase-three global clinical tests. Photo courtesy of Celltrion

Korean pharmaceutical firm joins competition to market pandemic treatment

South Korea’s pharmaceutical company Celltrion announced on June 14 that its COVD-19 treatment, called Rekirona, was safe and efficient in dealing with the virus pandemic at its phase-three clinical tests.

The company located in the west of Seoul said that the treatment achieved statistically significant and clinically meaningful results at the trials conducted with more than 1,300 patients in 13 countries this year.

Rekirona, a monoclonal antibody treatment, helped patients shorten time to clinical recovery by almost five days quicker than placebo for all patients.

Results also showed that the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by more than 70 percent for patients at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 up to Day 28 compared to placebo.

Top-line results revealed that Rekirona had a positive safety profile, with no clinically meaningful differences between patients treated with the drug and placebo.

Celltrion said that p-values for the tests were smaller than 0.0001, which means they can be assumed to be very reliable.

“We continue to be challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and new variants of concern,” said Kim Ho-ung, who leads the medical and marketing division of Celltrion Healthcare.

“As many hospitals across the globe now exceed their ability to accommodate patients due to COVID-19, it is critical that we use every resource to reduce the burden on the healthcare system.”

He also noted, “This well-controlled trial provides conclusive results demonstrating CT-P59 (Rekirona) can improve outcomes in people with mild- to moderate COVID-19, and also significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization and death.”

Kim said that Celltrion will continue to work with regulators around the world to make available the treatment to more patients in need.

Observers point out that Celltrion will compete mostly in Europe.

“Although vaccines are available, there are still so many patients suffering from COVID-19. In Europe, no treatments got the official approval,” HMC Investment & Securities analyst Eom Min-yong said.

“Against this backdrop, Celltrion will try to get full authorization in Europe. Then, it will be able to compete with multinational pharmaceutical companies.”

Following the announcement, Celltrion and its affiliates saw their share prices shoot up in the Seoul bourse. For example, Celltrion Pharm’s value surged more than 10 percent on June 14.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.