Celltrion is constructing a third manufacturing plant at its site in Songdo, Korea and has a fourth in the works.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

November 19, 2020

2 Min Read
Celltrion commits $453m for third plant with 60,000 L capacity
Image: iStock/Sanga Park

Celltrion is constructing a third manufacturing plant at its site in Songdo, Korea and has a fourth in the works as it aims to have 600,000 L of bioreactor capacity operational by 2030.

Korean drugmaker Celltrion has four biosimilars on the market and a pipeline consisting of five other potential biosimilar products and two novel biotherapeutics. Currently the firm has 190,000 L of bioreactor capacity available to it across two biomanufacturing facilities at its site in Songdo, Incheon, but aims to increase this to 600,000 L in the next decade.

The first step to attain this is to build a third facility at the Songdo site, the firm told Bioprocess Insider.


Image: iStock/Sanga Park

“Celltrion is planning to invest US $453 million (500 billion won) for constructing the third plant and global R&D center in Sondgo Incheon, Republic of Korea,” a spokesperson told us. “The third plant will have a capacity of 60,000 liters with 8 bioreactors and will be completed by May 2023, begin a commercial operation in June 2024.”

The construction of the global R&D center will be completed in July 2022 and Celltrion expects to hire 3,000 new employees including 2,000 R&D staff.

“Celltrion has been pushing forward construction of the third plant to actively respond to the rapidly increasing global biopharmaceutical product demand,” we were told. “Also, Celltrion is preparing multi-product small-sized manufacturing systems which will be a major function of the third plant.”

Fourth and fifth plants?

The news is the latest in a series of turnarounds by Celltrion going back to 2016 when the company first floated the concept of building a third facility. In 2018, Chairman Seo Jeong-jin scrapped plans in favor of a non-descript overseas facility.

Then in 2019, Celltrion put plans back on the table for a Korean plant yet this was seemingly put on the backburner in January this year when the firm announced a 120,000 L biosimilars plant in Wuhan, China.

With this latest announcement, Celltrion says its domestic manufacturing capacity will total 200,000 L by 2024 and will be increased further with another facility set to be constructed at the site.

“The fourth plant and bio-complex area are planned to be constructed in Songdo Incheon, Republic of Korea with a capacity of 200,000 liters.”

No more information was divulged about this fourth Korean plant or others, but with the anticipated capacity adding to the 250,000 L of the first three facilities, plus the 120,000 L of capacity from the China plant, we count Celltrion’s total capacity to be 570,000 L when these plans come to fruition.

And as we were told “Celltrion will have a total capacity of 600,000 liters including overseas plants by 2030,” it seems an extra 30,000 L of capacity will need to be worked into upcoming CAPEX plans.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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