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[Exclusive] CJ HealthCare to reinvent itself under Kolmar by April

Merger with Kolmar’s pharma division not on cards, likely to be renamed to show affiliation

CJ HealthCare, which was acquired by Kolmar Korea -- the 10th-largest pharmaceutical company in South Korea -- for around 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in 2018, will be rebranded by April to show its affiliation with the parent company, sources told The Korea Herald on Wednesday.

As per the acquisition deal, CJ HealthCare was allowed to retain its name for two years to maintain its corporate image for sales promotion.

According to sources, the company is now actively considering to change its name to something that clearly shows its new affiliation with Kolmar. One of the new names being considered is Hankol Healthcare -- after Kolmar’s Vietnamese operation, Hankol Healthcare Vina, which was set up in March last year.

Merging with Kolmar’s pharma business, however, is not an option, they said.

The company’s identity, including the name and the logo, will change, but CJ HealthCare will retain its pipelines and products on a standalone basis.

CJ HealthCare’s strategy for 2020 is to expand the number of countries that approve K-CAB sales, from the current 22 nations.

K-CAB is a tegoprazan-base heartburn treatment that is registered as Korea’s 30th original drug.

The drug raked in 22.3 billion won in 2019, the first year of its launch, given its leverage over competing ranitidine and nizatidine-base gastrointestinal drugs’ carcinogenic contamination.

CJ HealthCare officials have said there will be no novel drug announcement in 2020, and that the sales from K-CAB will tow the company’s business this year.

The company was founded in in 1984 as a health care business division of CJ CheilJedang. Its first pharma achievement was the Hepatitis B vaccine, HEPACCINE-B, launched in 1986 using locally developed technologies only.

It has branched out to other vaccines and oncology drugs, but its main cash cow is the K-CAB and hangover-relief drink Condition.

The company is slated to make its initial public offering by end-2022 as promised to shareholders during the Kolmar acquisition.

The exact IPO date after its name change has not been finalized, but the company appointed Samsung Securities, Korea Investment & Securities and JP Morgan as its underwriters in December.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (