Green Cross Cell and Ahngook Pharmaceuticals shared their open innovation success stories at the first “Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-pharma Manufacturers Association (KPBMA) Bio Open Plaza” on Thursday.
The two companies said their successful open innovation has led to the development of new drug candidates, emphasizing cooperation as the key factor.
|Green Cross Cell CTO Hwang Yu-kyung|
The first session led by Hwang Yu-kyung황유경, CTO of Green Cross Cell 녹십자랩셀, dealt with the company's drug development of “MG4101,” a natural killer (NK) cells that detects only virus-infected cells or cancer cells, directly attacking and destroying them.
The NK cell is viewed as an alternative treatment to overcome the cost and production limits of CAR-T therapy. Green Cross Cell has recently entered phase 2 clinical trial. Sixty 60 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, who are undergoing hepatic artery chemoembolization, participated in it at six clinical institutes, including Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) 서울대병원.
Hwang said the NK cell became successful thanks to cooperation between multiple institutes. The cooperation was extensive starting with SNUH developing the elemental technology based on medical demand. Mogam Institute 목암연구소 acted as a bridge between the industry and academia and worked on the practical application of basic technology. Later, it conducted the validation, immunoassay, and mechanism study using animal models with KAIST 카이스트 and Hanyang University 한양대학교.
Green Cross 녹십자, the parent company of Green Cross Cell, also performed phase 1 clinical trials and transferred process development and gave technical cooperation.
“Since we secured the patents for our technology, we have been collaborating with a variety of institutes to achieve full potential,” Hwang said. “The cooperation has led to a substantial upgrade in our technology.”
|Angook Pharmaceuticals board member Jang Ki-ho|
The subsequent session led by Jang Ki-ho장기호, a board member of Angook Pharmaceuticals 안국약품, stressed the need to approach from a business perspective and decide a position in the market from the early stage of the new drug development.
Angook has recently been developing AG-B1512, a growth hormone deficiency medication, which has entered phase 1 clinical trials with the government’s support. The drug showed promising results in animal test showing 20 to 40 times longer half-life compared to first-generation growth hormone (IGF-1).
The company sought to use CROs and CMOs in the early stages of development, avoiding new drugs with a high mechanism of action and reviewing projects with low risk.
“Pharmaceuticals should set their targets separately for domestic and global markets,” Jang said. “If the company is aiming for the global market it should review its marketability in emerging markets and advanced nations.”
In targeting specific diseases, the company should consider clinical difficulty and the competition, he added.
“New drug development has to approach with a business mindset to obtain higher value than competitors’ in R & D process,” Jang said.
The remainder of the session discussed in detail biotech issues such as exosome, cell therapy, and microbiome.
KPBMA 한국제약바이오협회 Chairman Won Hee-mok 원희목 presented the organization's goal, expressing his intention to continue such forums.
“Although information sharing is important, it is hard for pharmaceutical companies and bio-ventures to get together and share information,” Won said. “Even if we cannot establish a venue for information sharing today, we must continue to accumulate our achievements and create a network, a place to coexist and cooperate.”
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