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Lotte Corp keeps searching for ways to enter bio business The company's attempt to invest in Enzychem Lifesciences fails

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2022-01-18 07:54:53

이 기사는 2022년 01월 18일 07:53 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s Lotte Corp is expected to continue reviewing possible ways to advance into the bio business after its attempt to invest in Enzychem Lifesciences, a Kosdaq-listed biopharmaceutical company, failed last year.

In March 2021, Lotte Corp’s ESG management innovation office tried to purchase a stake in Enzychem to make inroads in the bio business. But the negotiations on the possible investment ended in failure. Lotte Corp said that the two parties failed to reach an agreement on the direction of collaboration.

“We requested the establishment of a joint venture (JV) only for the contract manufacturing organization (CMO) business, but Enzychem requested equity investment, instead of setting up a JV,” an official at Lotte Corp said. “The negotiations have been halted.”

Enzychem said that there was no reason to join hands with Lotte Corp in a situation where it has plenty of collaboration opportunities with major domestic pharmaceutical companies in the CMO sector. The company is currently not in urgent need of external investment as it has already secured enough competitiveness in the field.

Enzychem recently signed a CMO contract with Hanmi Pharmaceutical to produce ZyCoV-D, the plasmid DNA Covid-19 vaccine developed by India’s pharmaceutical firm Zydus Cadila. The Kosdaq-listed firm is also preparing to sign a similar agreement with another major pharmaceutical company.

“We don’t need to suffer from external interference by attracting Lotte’s investment in a situation where there are pending contracts, like the one with Hanmi Pharmaceutical,” said an official at Enzychem. “Internally, we don't feel sorry that (the negotiations) fell through.”

Lotte Corp is seeking other investment opportunities at home and abroad. The company scouted experts from outside by establishing the healthcare team and bio team under its ESG management innovation office in late 2021. The healthcare team is led by Woo Woong-jo, who managed health services at Samsung Electronics. The bio team is led by Lee Won-jik, former head of drug product business unit at Samsung Biologics.

Internally, views are mixed on the company’s possible entrance to the bio business. Some said the company has to start with the CMO business by utilizing manufacturing facilities owned by the group’s confectionery or chemical affiliates, while others said it should directly start the novel drug development business. (Reporting by Eun-jin Choi)
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