SK Plasma signed a memorandum with Indonesia’s state-run PT Bio Farma and the Red Cross Society on transferring technology for separating out blood components as part of its effort to expand its health care business, the company said Sunday.
SK Plasma is a subsidiary of SK Chemical that focuses on plasma-derivatives, such as albumin, immunoglobulin, coagulation factor, antithrombin III and others. These derivatives are essential medicines for congenital immunodeficiency diseases, hemophilia and burns, and can be obtained from human plasma through fractionation, which separates out the different components of blood. Those components are then purified and subjected to virus inactivation and removal.
Since the raw material for plasma products can only be obtained from the blood of healthy people, the stability of supply is one of the most important factors for producers. Most countries, including Korea, ban exports of blood, meaning companies have to locally secure the raw material needed to manufacture their finished plasma products. Plasma constitutes only 10 percent of blood.
Due to this technical barrier, there are only 30 companies in the world that specialize in plasma. Korea has two: GC Pharma and SK Plasma. The SK health care unit is the first Korean company to make this kind of deal with an Indonesian health care providers.
The agreement between SK Plasma and PT Bio Farma will focus on registering SK’s finished products and exporting them to Indonesia; collecting local plasma in Indonesia and contract manufacturing at its plant in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province; and transferring technology and establishing a fractionation plant run by PT Bio Farma in Indonesia.
Kim Hye-son, director general for global health care at the Korean Health Ministry, attended the signing ceremony on Saturday, with Engko Sosialine Magdalene, director general of the Indonesian Health Ministry.
“This MOU is a successful project that is in line with the (Korean) government’s New Southern Policy and will contribute to the expansion of biotechnology industry, creating the national interests for both countries,” Kim said.
Indonesia has a population of 260 million and its pharmaceuticals market is growing by double-digits each year, SK Chemical said. In 2018, the market size was $6.6 billion. In addition to SK Plasma, Korean companies such as Chong Kun Dang and Dong-A ST are known to be active in targeting Indonesia market.
SK Plasma said it as also planning to advance into other parts of Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The company anticipates its new plant in Andong Bio Industrial Complex with fractionation capacity of 600,000 liters of plasma per year will help boost its global expansion.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)