|A Celltrion plant in Incheon / Courtesy of Celltrion|
By Nam Hyun-woo
|Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin / Yonhap|
A Celltrion official said it is replacing ingredients, materials and devices needed for its drugs and other products with the alternatives.
Of those materials, the official said the company has secured an alternative for a virus removal filter made by Asahi Kasei Corporation of Japan.
The virus filter is one of the items expected to be affected by Japan's exclusion earlier this month of Korea from its "whitelist" of countries receiving preferential trade status. By removing Korea, Tokyo will place stronger controls on strategic items heading to the country.
Celltrion did not reveal details of other items it is importing from Japan, but the official said the company is replacing them to prevent "risks," even though other items are not regarded as strategic.
"The virus filter is the only item that is affected by the whitelist regulation," the official said. "However, with uncertainties remaining over how long and far the trade tension with Japan will go, the company decided to replace other Japanese imports as a preemptive measure."
Celltrion will use its existing inventory of Japanese ingredients and materials first and then make orders with firms in other biopharmaceutical powerhouses such as Germany and the U.S. For the virus filter, Celltrion said it has already secured a one-year stockpile of alternatives.
The virus removal filter is an essential device to prevent contamination of biological products. Along with Asahi Kasei, Merck, Sartorius and several other foreign firms are supplying virus filtration systems to Korean firms.
GC Pharma, which also imports virus filters from Japan, is reportedly considering sourcing them from other countries.