UPDATE : Tuesday, January 22, 2019
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Will Korea release world’s first dementia patch treatment?
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.05.21 15:34
  • Updated 2018.05.21 15:34
  • comments 0

ICure Pharmaceutical, Boryeong Pharmaceutical, and Daewoong Pharmaceutical have all started developing a patch form of Donepezil, the most commonly used treatment for dementia.

Due to the nature of the disease, it is not easy for dementia patients to regularly take medications. Therefore, there has been a strong demand for a long-term therapy or a patch-type treatment.

However, only two types of donepezil formulations are available now -- tablets and orally disintegrating tablets.

ICure Pharmaceutical is the front-runner in developing a Donepezil patch.

ICure, a research and development firm, has an original technology for Transdermal Drug Delivery System (TDDS).

The company is working on a patch to help patients attach it twice a week.

ICure aims to commercialize the product by 2020 after finishing its phase 3 clinical trials in Korea, Australia, Taiwan, and Malaysia next year.

They have also signed agreements with Asian countries such as China and the Philippines for the formulation of its Donepezil patch.

Hangzhou Tongsheng Pharmaceutical Technology Company in China and Unite Laboratories in the Philippines will sell products in their countries after ICure successfully commercializes its product.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare also selected iCure’s pramipexole patch, a treatment for Parkinson's disease, for its new drug development project last Friday. Through this project, the ministry will provide support in areas such as clinical and nonclinical trials.

Boryung Pharmaceutical is also working with Raphas, a company that has an original technology for TDDS, for a Donepezil patch.

The target product is a microneedle dementia treatment that uses TDDS to dissolve Donepezil in the body during the attachment period. The two companies plan to develop the patch into either a two times a week or three times a week administration form.

Boryung intends to enter phase 1 clinical trials this year and plans to commercialize the product in 2023.

Daewoong is also reportedly pursuing a similar patch. However, the treatment is still in its pre-clinical trial stage.

Although the company is a late runner, Daewoong plans to develop the patch into a once-a-week form.

If a local pharmaceutical company succeeds in commercializing a Donepezil patch, it is expected to cause big waves in the global pharmaceutical market.

Such expectation comes after Exelon, a treatment for Parkinson's disease, expanded its global market share to a trillion won ($921 million) after companies released a patch form of the medication.


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