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‘SK Holdings, AstraZeneca’s partnership benefits 3 million diabetic patients’

SK Holdings and British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca on Thursday said their strategic partnership has so far produced medication for some 3 million diabetic patients and yielded annual revenue of $100 million.

SK Holdings CEO Jang Dong-hyun and AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson agreed to strengthen their collaborative efforts for mutual benefit during a meeting in Seoul, held as part of the Korea-Sweden summit talks.

Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade Anna Hallberg, Yu Jeoung-yeol from Korea’s Industry Ministry and Lim In-taek from the Ministry of Health and Welfare attended the ceremony. 


SK Holdings CEO Jang Dong-hyun (left) and AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson attend a meeting to boost their partnership in Seoul on Thursday. (AstraZeneca)
SK Holdings CEO Jang Dong-hyun (left) and AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson attend a meeting to boost their partnership in Seoul on Thursday. (AstraZeneca)


AstraZeneca manufactures anti-cancer drugs and treatments for respiratory and diabetes and circulatory diseases. In 2018, it generated revenue of $22 billion.

The company has outsourced the manufacturing of its drugs’ active pharmaceutical ingredient to SK Biotek, wholly owned subsidiary SK Holdings, since 2018, a year after another of its subsidiary SK Biotek Ireland’s acquisition of the Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Swords manufacturing facility.

Leveraging SK Biotek Ireland as its contract manufacturing organization, AstraZeneca is producing diabetics treatments Forxiga and Onglyza, which are provided to diabetic patients in 98 countries.

AstraZeneca Chairman Johansson said that “SK Biotek is an important strategic partner, and an example to prove Korea’s high quality pharma manufacturing standards.”

The firm has also signed a memorandum of agreement with Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), Korea Bioteknology Industry Organization (KoreaBIO) and Korea Pharmaceuticals and Bio-Pharm Manufacturers Association (KPBMA) to strengthen collaboration for the domestic bio-health industry’s expedited growth.

SK Holdings is focusing on biologics and pharma business as the future growth engine for SK Group, under Chairman Chey Tae-won’s vision.

It has acquired SK Biotek Ireland and US-based AMPAC, and since August, has set up a consolidated CMO in the US named SK Pharmteco, kicking spur into its global business expansion.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)
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