Korean bio companies introduce novel drugs at industry event

2024.01.11 12:40:02 | 2024.01.11 16:53:38

Lee Won-jik, CEO of Lotte Biologics [Courtesy of Lotte Biologics]이미지 확대

Lee Won-jik, CEO of Lotte Biologics [Courtesy of Lotte Biologics]

South Korean pharmaceutical and biotech companies introduced new drugs they are strategically investing in at the 2024 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, the world’s largest bio healthcare event, taking place in San Francisco, the United States.

SK biopharmaceutical Co. announced its global growth strategy for an independently developed epilepsy drug to global pharmaceutical and biotech companies and investors at the conference’s Asia-Pacific (APAC) track on Tuesday.

SK biopharmaceutical has a unique track record and capability of successfully launching Cenobamate, an independently developed innovative drug for epilepsy, in the United States. Cenobamate, sold under the brand name XCOPRI in the U.S., became the top new patient prescription drug in 2023 with a 43 percent market share.

“As the first and only Korean company to directly market innovative new drugs in the United States, SK biopharmaceutical will soon demonstrate the success of a new business model and become the centerpiece of the Korean drug development company ecosystem,” said Lee Dong-hoon, the company’s chief executive officer and president. “Based on the continued growth of Cenobamate and synergies with SK Group companies, we will expand into new modality technology platforms and oncology and become a well-rounded big biotech company.”

Yuhan Corp. unveiled its next pipeline products, YH35324, an allergy treatment, and YH32367, an immuno-oncology drug, which will succeed the company’s lung cancer treatment Leclaza poised for global expansion.

“The allergy treatment has secured data in Phase 1 clinical trials targeting atopic patients, comparing it with the existing drug ‘Xolair’,” Kim Yeol-hong, president for Research and Development (R&D) at Yuhan said. “If the trial we announced in 2023 was Part A, we will announce Part B in February 2024.”

Lotte Biologics Co. announced plans to target the global contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) market by establishing major production bases in the U.S. and Korea.

Lotte Biologics acquired a plant in Syracuse, New York, in April 2023 and started converting it into an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) production facility. Additionally, the company purchased a site in Songdo, Incheon, to build a CDMO plant whose construction will begin in early 2024.

“Lotte Biologics’ advantage is having production bases in both the U.S. and Korea, allowing us to flexibly meet client demands,” said Lee Won-jik, CEO of Lotte Biologics. “The U.S. plant will handle global clinical trials and ADC production, while the Korean plant will be responsible for mass production of biopharmaceuticals.”

He added that the company’s goal is to start operating the ADC plant in the first quarter of 2025.

Lotte Biologics plans to complete Plant 1 at its Songdo bio plant by 2026. Plant 1 will introduce a 15,000-liter large-capacity bioreactor and a system to meet the demand for high-potency drugs.

“High-potency drugs are expected to take time to commercialize,” Lee said. “Once they are commercialized, large bioreactors will become unnecessary, allowing us to operate bioreactors of various sizes.”

By Shim Hee-jin and Yoon Yeon-hae

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