Major pharmaceuticals expand R and D spending in

SEOUL-- Major South Korean pharmaceutical companies expanded their spending on research and development (R and D) during the first half this year, with Hanmi Pharmaceutical Co. allocating the most, industry data showed Wednesday.

According to their semi-annual business reports, 10 out of the 15 drug companies spent more on R and D during the January-June period, compared to the same period a year earlier. The 15 companies raked in more than 100 billion won (US$87 million) in revenue each in the first half of the year.

The combined R and D spending by the 15 firms came to 400 billion won during the cited period, up 1.9 percent from 393.7 billion won posted a year earlier, the data showed.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical was the top R and D investor with 67.4 billion won during the cited period, spending nearly 19.3 percent of its sales on R and D. Hanmi was the only player in 2015 that allocated more than 100 billion won to R and D. Since then, the company has slowly expanded R and D spending despite poor earnings. Hanmi's operating profits plunged 87 percent on-year in 2016 due to the canceled license-out contract with global drugmaker Sanofi to develop experimental, long-acting diabetes treatments.

Daewoong Pharma and Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. came next by allocating 59.6 billion won and 55.9 billion won, respectively, in the first half of the year. The two firms allocated more than 10 percent of their sales to the R and D budget this year.

Meanwhile, Yuhan Corp. a No. 1 player in terms of sales, spent 47.8 billion won on R and D this year, which accounts for only 6.8 percent of its sales. The ratio is the lowest among major pharmaceutical companies.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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