[Source: JW Bioscience]
Biomarker-based diagnostic products have emerged as latest preoccupation of Korean biopharmaceutical companies amid the rising need for early detection to fight cancers.
A genomic biomarker is a DNA or RNA characteristic that is an indicator of normal or pathogenic processes in the body.
According to industry sources on Wednesday, JW Bioscience, Genomictree, Aptamer Sciences, and WellMarker Bio are among those that are active in the development of predictive biomarkers.
JW Bioscience, a subsidiary of JW Life Science, is developing an early detection kit for pancreatic cancer based on CFB (complement factor B) and CA19-9 biomarkers, which are available to detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage with only a small amount of blood.
JW Bioscience also signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Immunovia, a Swedish diagnostic healthcare company, over its patented multi-biomarker (CFB, CA19-9), key to the test kit. The patent is registered in Korea, the U.S., 21 European countries, China, and Japan. JW Bioscience is also developing an early diagnosis solution for sepsis using WRS (tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase).
In May, another Korean biotech company Genomictree signed an agreement to license out its EarlyTect-CRC technology to Shandong Lukang Haoliyou Biotechnology Development, a Chinese joint venture with Korea’s Orion Holdings. EarlyTect-CRC is a product for diagnosis of colorectal cancer using methylation biomarker Syndecan-2.
Aptamer Sciences is another Korean player that has a track record in biomarker areas with its world`s first aptamer-based lung cancer early diagnosis kit based on discovery platform technology for aptamers, which are nucleic acid molecules that bind to their target with high specificity and affinity.
Its kit measures the potential presence of four types of biomarkers (CA6, EGFR1, MMP7, KIT) related to the proliferation of non-small cell lung cancer and three types of immune-related biomarkers (C9, CRP, SERPINA3) in a small amount of blood serum (5 μl).
WellMarker Bio, a Korean cancer drug developer, is evaluating nine innovative oncology pipelines based on biomarkers for therapeutic response prediction that can be used to check the therapeutic efficacy ahead of actual treatment of patients.
According to the Korea Bio-Economy Research Center (KBERC), the biomarker market is estimated to grow from $57.6 billion in 2016 to $150 billion by 2023. Today’s biomarker-based treatment areas include oncology, cardiovascular disease, immune disease, and ophthalmic disease. Of these, the global biomarker market for oncology applications is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9 percent from $43.2 billion in 2016, reaching $110 billion in 2023.
By Kim Si-gyun and Minu Kim
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