SK Biopharm’s new drugs meet hopeful response, eyes $864mn in sales from epilepsy drug

2021.09.07 13:36:58 | 2021.09.07 13:47:24

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SK Biopharmaceuticals’ novel drugs including epilepsy drug Xcopri (cenobamate) are gearing up for aggressive global expansion after their initial launches in key pharmaceutical markets North America and Europe have drawn favorable responses.

According to sources on Monday, the Korean pharmaceutical company kicked off Phase 1 trials in the U.S. and Hungary to evaluate cenobamate currently indicated for adults in children and adolescents with partial seizures.

Cenobamate was approved for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults in the U.S. in November 2019 and in Europe in March 2021.

Cenobamate sales in the U.S., the world’s biggest pharmaceutical market, have been growing fast since its launch with its second-quarter sales reaching 18 billion won ($15.6 million). The number of prescriptions jumped by 38 percent on quarter to 20,445 cases.

SK Biopharmaceuticals has succeeded in expanding cenobamate sales in the U.S. despite Covid-19 restrictions at hospitals thanks to its aggressive digital-based promotions, the company said.

Photo provided by SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. 이미지 확대

Photo provided by SK Biopharmaceuticals Co.

Market analysts project that cenobamate-related sales would hit 1 trillion won within seven years after exceeding 500 billion won in five years given the pace in market expansion and new clinical trials for additional indications.

The company has been eagerly exploring European markets to sell the drug. The company’s European partner Angelini Pharma launched cenobamate in Germany in June. Angelini Pharma plans to sell the drug across 41 European countries in the future. SK Biopharmaceuticals received about 123.5 billion won in milestone payments from the Italy-based partner in March when marketing approval was granted in Europe.

SK Biopharmaceuticals’ narcolepsy drug Sunosi (solriamfetol) is also on track for marketing in broader global markets. Jazz Pharmaceuticals, the marketing authorization holder of the drug, recently started selling the drug in Canada following its launches in the US., Germany, Denmark, France and Italy. Sunosi sales in the second quarter amounted to $12.1 million, and its sales are expected to surge upon its launch in Canada.

SK Biopharmaceuticals’ new pipelines treatment on rare childhood epilepsy and refractory/metastatic tumors.

In July, SK Biopharmaceuticals said it aims to grow into one of the top 10 global healthcare companies by 2030.

By Park Yoon-gyun and Minu Kim

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