CJ Healthcare said Wednesday it has secured the government’s support to develop CJ-15314, a rheumatoid arthritis medication.
The drug was chosen for the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s 2017 Fourth Health and Medical Technology Research and Development Project, the company said.
Through the project, the government will support nonclinical and clinical trials for the development of new drugs including CJ-15314.
Following the announcement, CJ Healthcare CJ헬스케어 plans to accelerate the completion of non-clinical studies of a candidate drug for oral rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
CJ-15314 uses JAK inhibition mechanism, which selectively inhibits kinase, an enzyme that catalyzes the transfer of phosphate groups from high-energy, phosphate-donating molecules to specific substrates, while also increasing safety and efficacy.
The drug is expected to further enhance the efficacy and safety of existing rheumatoid arthritis treatments. It also has potential to expand uses for a variety of autoimmune diseases, according to the company.
The rheumatoid arthritis drug has a huge market with 55 trillion won ($49.9 billion) in sales annually, according to a report by Evaluate Pharma in 2015.
In Korea, the usual prescription for rheumatoid arthritis includes methotrexate and TNF-a blocker.
However, existing treatments have a drawback of merely relieving pain and is costly, which has led to a high expectation for a new therapeutic agent.
“Currently, we are concentrating on developing new drugs such as anticancer, immunological diseases and liver diseases.,” said Moon Byung-suk, head of CJ Healthcare research center. “The government’s support is expected to speed up the development of new drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with improved efficacy and safety.”
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