Daewoong Pharmaceutical forms new venture

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Daewoong Pharmaceutical forms new venture

Daewoong Pharmaceutical is establishing a joint venture with Britain’s Avacta to co-develop immune disease treatments.

The Korean pharmaceutical company said in a statement Wednesday that the joint venture will be dedicated to researching functional stem cells and developing treatments based on cell therapy platforms.

Daewoong Pharmaceutical CEO Jeon Seng-ho will head the yet-to-be-named joint venture.

“The establishment of the joint venture is an astounding result of the open collaboration business that Daewoong Pharmaceutical has been pursuing for a long time period,” Jeon said in a statement.

“By combining Avacta’s Affimer technology and Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s stem cell technology, we will be able to establish a new non-antibody protein-type therapeutic paradigm that would overcome the limitations of existing antibody-based therapies.”

Under the agreement, Daewoong Pharmaceutical will license out its mesenchymal stem cell technology to the joint venture.

Unlike mesenchymal stem cells that can be only cultured for a limited period, Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s cells can be mass-produced and cultured for a longer time, which increases the efficacy of the stem cells.

As part of the deal, Avacta will supply its target-specific Affimer technology, a Stefin A protein-based therapeutics platform that can have an advantage in tissue penetration due to its smaller size.

Tissue penetration is closely related to the efficacy of treatments.

“We are delighted to combine the Affimer platform with Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s stem cell technology,” said Avacta CEO Alastair Smith in a statement.

“The establishment of the joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical will be an important opportunity for developing innovative medicines to treat immune-related diseases.”

By establishing another joint venture on a global scale, Daewoong Pharmaceutical hopes to win more approvals and make better research progress for foreign markets.

The Korean pharmaceutical company announced a day earlier that its Indonesian joint venture, Daewoong Infion, won the first halal certification for bio drugs derived from animal cells by gaining approval for its erythropoietin-referenced epodion, an anemic treatment for chronic kidney failure, from the Indonesian halal certification agency.

Epodion received sales approval from the Indonesian health authority in December 2016 and has been available in the country since April 2017.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]
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