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CJ CheilJedang acquires ChunLab Food conglomerate aims to expand its business to red bio

Translated by Kim So-in 공개 2021-07-26 08:10:24

이 기사는 2021년 07월 26일 08:03 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

South Korea’s food conglomerate CJ CheilJedang has acquired bioinformatics company ChunLab in a move to gain a foothold in the red bio industry.

CJ CheilJedang took over ChunLab, which specializes in studies of microbiome, for around 98.3 billion won ($85.4 million) on Wednesday. The company will secure a 44% stake in ChunLab, including shares owned by existing shareholders and new shares issued by the biotech company.

Human microbiome refers to the complete set of genes contained in the entire collection of microorganisms in the human body.

Founded in 2009, ChunLab specializes in microbiome research and development and owns microbiome analysis technology and platform. A number of cohort studies with hospitals and research institutes such as Ajou University Medical Center are in progress.

The acquisition is part of the food conglomerate’s efforts to expand its functional food business, hoping to create synergy with its microorganism and fermentation technology and ChunLab’s strength in microbiome analysis and big data.

This is the first time CJ CheilJedang purchased a red bio company. CJ Healthcare, which it sold to Kolmar Korea in 2018, focused on generic drugs.

The latest acquisition reflects CJ CheilJedang CEO Choi Eun-seok's passion for the biopharmaceutical business. When the company sold CJ Healthcare to Kolmar Korea for 1.3 trillion won three years ago, CJ CheilJedang had to stabilize its financial structure. As the company’s financial structure has improved and its main businesses have regained stability, the company has turned its attention back to the pharmaceutical business.

The bio business has three categories – red (health and medical), green (agriculture, food and resources), and white (eco-friendly). South Korea’s retail giants including Hyundai Department Store Group and Lotte Group are also reviewing possible entrance to the red bio market, which has strong growth potential.

In January, CJ CheilJedang signed a memorandum of understanding with ChunLab to develop new drugs. The company invested 4 billion won in KoBioLabs, which develops psoriasis and asthma treatments using microbiome, in 2019.

CJ CheilJedang also hopes its health business to create synergy with the red bio business. The company has been running its health business as a company in company (CIC) since last month to strengthen its business capability. (Reporting by Nuri Moon)
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