April 22, 2018

SK Biotek goes global with BMS plant purchase

PUBLISHED : June 19, 2017 - 14:23

UPDATED : June 19, 2017 - 14:23

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[THE INVESTOR] SK Biotek, a wholly owned drug-making subsidiary of SK Holdings, said on June 19 it will acquire US drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb’s manufacturing plant in Ireland to enter the European market.

The Seoul-based contract drug manufacturer said the deal will be closed by the fourth quarter, without elaborating on other details, including the buying price. 

Currently, the plant, located in Swords, produces small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient for BMS and Pfizer’s anticoagulant Eliquis. With a production capacity of 81,000 liters per year, its revenue stands at about 200 billion won (US$177 million).

SK Biotek, which has been an supplier for BMS for a decade, said it will continue to produce the pharmaceutical products produced at the plant and ramp up efforts to secure more orders in Europe, the world’s largest drug market.

“This deal is an important step to achieve our goal of becoming a leading global contract development and manufacturing organization. It allows us to enhance technological and manufacturing capacity and build long-term partnerships with existing and new customers,” SK Biotek CEO Park Jun-ku said in a statement.

More than 90 percent of SK Biotek’s API sales come from Europe and North America. The company aims to achieve 1.5 trillion won in sales by 2020 to become one of the top 10 pharma contract manufacturing firms. Last year, its revenue reached 101.2 billion won.

The acquisition is part of the bigger plans of SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won to push the biopharma business as a future growth engine. He has been seeking aggressive investments in the sector through affiliated firms like new drug developing unit SK Biopharmaceuticals, vaccine hemophilia drug manufacturer SK Chemical and SK Biotek.

SK Biotek runs five manufacturing facilities in Korea -- one in Sejong and the rest in Daejeon -- that are undergoing expansion to increase capacity to about 800,000 liters a year by 2020 from the current 160,000 liters.

By Park Han-na (

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