Start-up inks cancer treatment deal

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Start-up inks cancer treatment deal

ViroMed, a local biotechnology drug company, has sold its key immune system treatment technology to a Boston-based biotech company, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said on Friday.

ViroMed completed the deal on Thursday, with an upfront $1 million payment to Bluebird Bio. Subsequently, the American company will pay ViroMed $48 million for every drug created by the technology.

The immune system treatment is possible through what’s called chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapies, which use ViroMed’s proprietary antibody to target solid cancer tumors. It can be developed into a drug that can distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones and target-attack the cancer cells in particular.

Currently, conventional cancer drugs, haven’t been able to distinguish healthy and cancer-ill cells. If a patient takes a drug, the patient has to suffer their healthy cells being attacked along with cancer cells.

ViroMed develops bio medications that treat cancers and previously considered incurable diseases by using biological sources like cells, genes and proteins.

Managed by CEO Kim Yong-soo whose career started out at Samsung Group, the biotech start-up’s key technologies are researched and developed under Seoul National University’s bio science Prof. Kim Sun-young, who is also a chief science officer.

The Science Ministry financed the start-up to the tune of about 1.15 billion won ($991,300) since earlier this year, as part of its policy to accelerate commercialization of stem cell and genetic treatment technologies.


BY KIM JI-YOON [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]



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