The number of active drug pipelines for cancer and other severe medical illnesses in Korea is close to 1,500, up nearly 160 percent from three years ago, according to a recent industry survey.
The survey of 229 local pharmaceutical and biotech firms found that 193 of them are investigating a total of 1,477 potential therapies, Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA) announced on Sunday.
The figure is a 157.8 percent increase compared to the organization’s survey of 100 companies in 2018, when there were only 573 active pipelines.
Of these, chemically synthesized molecules take up the largest share with 599 or 40.6 percent, followed by biological agents with 540 (36.6 percent), and natural products or remedies with 338 (22.9 percent). In 2018, the figure was 225 chemicals, 260 biologics and 88 natural products or remedies.
By research stage, 403 potential therapies or 27.3 percent of the total are in a very early study, followed by 397 or 26.9 percent in pre-clinical stages, 266 (18.0 percent) in Phase 1, 169 (11.4 percent) in Phase 2 and 116 (7.9 percent) in Phase 3 clinical stages.
The number of drugs in late Phase 3 clinical trials showed a remarkable increase of 274.2 percent from three years ago, KPBMA said.
By therapeutic area, oncology is the most active area of research with 317 candidate drugs (21.5 percent), followed by metabolic (173 drugs, 11.7 percent), CNS (146, 9.9 percent), infection (112, 7.6 percent), and digestive system (79, 5.3 percent) disorders.
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