– DNA testing kit maker Celemics eyes foray into US, India
– It aims to turn a profit in 2025 with price and quality competitiveness
Celemics Inc., a South Korean diagnostic reagent producer, is gearing up for its foray into the US and India next year in its first step toward global expansion, its chief executive said. It is targeting the two markets with its flagship testing kit used to discover a genetic mutation that causes disease.“Nex year will be our first year of global expansion,” Celemics CEO Lee Yong-hoon told The Korea Economic Daily in a recent interview. Its targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) kit will undergo testing under the US’ Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulations. Once the kit is certified by the US government agency in charge of clinical standard tests, expected by the first quarter of next year, it will kick off the NGS kit supply to labs in the US and India.
Celemics will differentiate itself from domestic and global rivals with its competitiveness in both price and quality. It offers the kits at prices 20-30% cheaper than its peers. It has already begun supply discussions with large labs. Founded in 2010, it recently opened a branch in Los Angeles and set up a subsidiary in Bengaluru, known as the Silicon Valley of India. The US and India are the world’s largest NGS markets. This year, orders for its NGS kits from India increased by 30%, compared to the year prior, Lee said. It began to supply the kits and its samples to three of India’s top five clinical labs.
Targeted next-generation sequencing kits are used to sequence a target gene to discover genetic mutations that give rise to disease. Lee said it has a competitive edge over domestic rival Angel Bio given that it directly sources materials used to produce NGS kits. Celemics supplies the materials to South Korea’s leading general hospitals such as Seoul National University Hospital and biotech firms such as GC Genome. It is one of the world’s six companies to produce NGS kit materials, including Illumina Inc., a US-based biotech company.
During COVID-19, it supplied testing kits to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency for studies on coronavirus genomes. That contributed substantially to its 2021 and 2022 sales growth in the 8-billion-won ($6 million) range versus 5.2 billion won in 2020. With export growth, Lee expects the company to turn a profit in 2025 after sharply reducing losses in 2024. Celemics is also developing liquid biopsy kits used to diagnose cancer using blood in collaboration with IMB DX Inc., in which it is the third-largest shareholder.
Write to Ye-Na Kim