SEOUL-- Celltrion Inc., a South Korean bio-pharmaceutical firm, said Wednesday that its operating profit soared 79.4 percent on-year in the first quarter, helped by robust sales of its biosimilar Remsima in overseas markets.

Operating income came to 138.3 billion won (US$123.4 million) in the April-June period, compared with 77.1 billion won logged the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Sales also jumped 33 percent on-year to 246.1 billion won during the cited period, marking the largest quarterly sales since the company was founded in 2002.

The positive results came after Celltrion began distributing Remsima in overseas markets, both in Europe and the United States.

Remsima is an identical copy of Janssen Biotech, Inc.'s Remicade, and is effective in treating various diseases from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn's disease. In the U.S. market, Remsima went on sale during the fourth quarter of last year under the name Inflectra by Pfizer Inc.

The company also began selling another biosimilar drug Truxima in Germany and in Britain following approval from European regulators.

Source: Yonhap News Agency