Under the new alliance, Catalent and CTC – a Seoul-based novel formulation specialist – will focus largely on the deliverability issues of local firms failing to reach Europe and the US. Oral solid dose and controlled release products will be a high priority.
The companies hope the deal will uncover a host of promising “super generics and new chemical entities (NCE)” in the area that may otherwise have failed to pass through Western regulations.
Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, Catalent’s president of modified release technologies Ian Muir said: “Until recently, most South Korean pharma focused on their domestic markets and Asia. Today, many South Korean pharmas are looking to European and US markets for growth.
“Our agreement with CTC Bio aims to identify those innovative domestic companies and their products to ensure that they have an effective means to make those products available globally.”
He told us that alongside solving delivery issues, the venture will also work as a manufacturing partner to boost South Korean firms’ chances of getting through the challenging Western regulatory process.
Depriving local development?
Catalent and CTC say that although working in developed markets is important for their South Korean clients, boosting local drug development is still important.
“South Korean Pharma will continue to produce locally for their domestic market,” Muir told us, adding that the country is key in current pharma expansions in South East Asia, “especially with innovative biological and small molecule products.”
When asked if Catalent’s decision to help companies take their products abroad could deprive the local market, Muir said: “No not at all. South Korea has a thriving pharmaceutical industry and a domestic supply base that ensures products are manufactured and locally supplied.”
He added that there is a particular interest on the domestic development of oncology products. “Therefore solubility enhancement will be an area of interest as many of these compounds are low solubility,” he said.
Last week INC Research also touted South Korea as a "promising" market for research when it opened up a new clinical hub in Seoul.