Peptide drug developer C-TRI said Thursday it would begin a large-scale clinical trial in partnership with healthcare consulting firm Synex for its spinal cord cerebellar degeneration treatment, Citrelin.
The Korean pharmaceutical said it aims to start the trials next month. The goal is to gain insurance coverage by 2020 with study results, the company said.
The study will be conducted on more than 300 patients at eight general hospitals, including Seoul National University Hospital, Samsung Medical Center, and Korea University Guro Hospital, it said.
Around 4,100 people suffered from spinal cord cerebellar degeneration as of 2011 with Citrelin as the only treatment option. But patients have been paying out of pocket for Citrelin.
"It is regrettable that financial cost restricts patients’ right to treatment, especially in a situation where no other treatments exist,” said C-TRI’s CEO Kim Wan-joo. “If successful clinical tests bring about insurance benefits, we believe it will be of great hope to patients without treatment options.”
The company expects patient burden to decrease significantly upon reimbursement. Because patients with rare diseases only pay 10 percent of treatment costs, patients will likely see annual treatment costs of 8.64 million won ($7,994) per patient drop to 860,000 won, it said.
Spinal cord cerebellar degeneration is a progressive, degenerative, hereditary disease with no known cure. The condition is characterized by poor coordination of hands, speech, and eyes. The domestic market for spinal cord cerebellar degeneration is around 36 billion won, C-TRI said.
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