Korea’s big 5 pharmas up R&D investment to ready post-pandemic period

2022.11.24 14:43:02 | 2023.04.28 13:34:04

Daewoong Pharmaceutical Building [Courtesy of Daewoong Pharmaceutical]이미지 확대

Daewoong Pharmaceutical Building [Courtesy of Daewoong Pharmaceutical]

Korea’s five big pharmaceutical companies - Daewoong Pharmaceutical, GC Biopharma, Yuhan, Hanmi Pharmaceutical, and Chong Kun Dang ? are increasing clinical trial activity and refueling pipelines of new products as pandemic measures have been eased worldwide.

Their combined R&D spending totaled some 650 billion won ($487.7 million) in the first three quarters of this year and each surpassed 100 billion won for the period, according to industry data on Wednesday.

Of them, GC Biopharma stood out among the Big Five with a whopping 27.1 percent increase in R&D investment compared to a year earlier. GC Biopharma spent 144.3 billion won on R&D for the first three quarters of this year, up by 27.1 percent from 113.5 billion won last year. A chunk of the investment went to a phase 2 clinical development program of MG1120A for the prevention of herpes zoster in the United States.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical, which is conducting clinical trials for additional indications of its gastroesophageal reflux disease drug Fexuclue (fexuprazan), increased R&D spending 9.6 percent on-year to 144.5 billion won. Fexuclue was officially launched in Korea last year.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical raised its R&D spending by 8 percent to 122.2 billion won over the period. Most of the money was earmarked to conduct global clinical trials of some 20 novel therapies, including a phase 3 clinical trial of diabetes drug efpeglenatide and a phase 2 trial of efinopegdutide for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Chong Kun Dang invested 116.9 billion won on clinical development of biosimilars, modified drugs and biological agents for the three quarters, which was a 3.8 percent increase from a year ago. The company has a pipeline of 87 candidates as of the end of last year, 37 of which are at clinical stages.

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