[Courtesy of Chong Kun Dang]
South Korea’s Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corp. said on Monday that it has signed a 1.7 trillion won ($1.3 billion) technology transfer agreement with Novartis AG for a drug candidate to treat Charcot Marie Tooth disease.
According to Chong Kun Dang, CKD-510 is a substance that selectively inhibits histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), a low-molecular-weight compound treating Charcot Marie Tooth disease, a type of hereditary peripheral neuropathy.
Chong Kun Dang has previously demonstrated CKD-510’s efficacy for cardiovascular diseases in preclinical studies. It has also confirmed safety and tolerability in Phase 1 clinical trials that were conducted in Europe and the United States.
CKD-510 is receiving attention in the market for its high selectivity among HDAC6 inhibitors.
High selectivity means that the drug only reacts with the substance corresponding precisely to 6 among various classes of HDAC, and this precision targeting minimizes side effects.
“The contract is the result of Chong Kun Dang consistently investing over 12 percent of its annual revenue in research and development (R&D),” Kim Young-joo, chief executive and president at Chong Kun Dang, said. “We are grateful to our researchers for helping us export one of our innovative new drug candidates to a multinational company.”
Lee Mi-yeop, head of product development at Chong Kun Dang, added that “Novartis possesses extensive experience in new drug development and strong commercialization capabilities” and that “we expect CKD-510 to grow into a global new drug.”
Lee noted that the company will use the contract with Novartis as a driving force to accelerate clinical trials related to core new drug candidates and achieve results moving forward.
Meanwhile, Chong Kun Dang shares gained upon the news of the technology export, finishing at 128,000 won on Monday, up 26.11 percent from their close on the previous trading day. The shares soared to 131,900 won mark during the day to set a new one-year record high.
Chong Kun Dang plans to expand its scope of new drug development, such as cell and gene therapy (CGT) and antibody-drug conjugates (ADC), further based on its proprietary technology.
In May 2022, Chong Kun Dang signed a memorandum of understanding with ENCell, a stem cell therapy development company, to collaborate on CGT research. In September of the same year, the company formed Gen2C, a gene therapy research center, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul.
The company is focusing on developing treatments for rare and intractable diseases, recently signing an agreement with Synaffix in the Netherlands to introduce ADC technology and secure the rights to use three platform technologies.
Chong Kun Dang’s anticancer biopharmaceutical CKD-702 is also progressing well and is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial. The drug is a dual antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor and hepatocyte growth factor receptor, both of which are necessary for the growth and proliferation of cancer.
In September 2022, some results from the CKD-702 Phase 1 clinical trial were presented at the European Oncology Congress, demonstrating pharmacokinetics, safety, and antitumor effects.
CKD-508, a cholesterol-lowering drug that is used to treat dyslipidemia, is also progressing to a Phase 1 clinical trial in the United Kingdom and other regions.
CKD-508 inhibits the activity of cholesteryl ester transfer protein, which promotes the transport of cholesterol ester and triglycerides in the blood, thereby reducing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in the body.
By Shim Hee-jin and Lee Eun-joo
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