Potential Lupus Immunotherapy Gains a Marketing Partner for South Korea

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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SLE therapy

Neovacs recently announced that it has signed an exclusive licensing contract granting Chong Kun Dang (CKD) Pharmaceutical Corp. of Seoul the right to market IFNα-Kinoïd, Neovacs’ anti-interferon alpha (IFNα) therapeutic vaccine being developed for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), in South Korea.

Lupus is considered an orphan disease in South Korea, with an estimated market just below 20,000 patients, which should enable Chong Kun Dang to initiate the process of registration with the South Korean health authority by the end of 2017, following a fruitful conclusion of the ongoing Phase 2b clinical trial that involves five research centers in the country.

“This first partnering has a great priority for Neovacs as it should enable market access by early 2018 for IFNα-Kinoïd. We are very confident that with CKD we have the right partner for South Korea. More than [a] thousand Korean patients are expected to be treated and followed between 2018 and 2020, in parallel to the Phase III trials — Europe and America — which should also include approximately [a] thousand patients. When filing for registration in Europe, USA and Asia, Neovacs should therefore have data concerning safety, tolerability and efficacy from more than two thousand patients,” Miguel Sieler, CEO of Neovacs, said in a recent news release, adding that “the valuation of the product agreed with CKD, on the basis of the South Korean market size, is very promising.”

“CKD is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in South Korea, with a leading position in the market of immune suppressive treatments. As a consequence, CKD has already established close ties with doctors who treat Lupus patients. We have the strong ambition of a rapid market penetration with this innovative treatment, and are proud to strengthen our competency in immunotherapy thanks to this groundbreaking French technology,” said Young Joo Kim, president of CKD.

Under the terms of the contract, Neovacs will receive a total of 5 million euros. One million will be a downpayment, followed by milestone payments until the first sales. Additionally, the company will receive sales royalties as well as a margin within the transfer price, and will guarantee supply of the finished product to CKD.

Chong Kun Dang and Neovacs, a biotechnology company focused on an active immunotherapy technology platform (Kinoids) with applications in autoimmune and/or inflammatory diseases, are assessing the possibility of further collaborations in preclinical and clinical trials for other therapeutics indications, including immunotherapy in cancer and macular degeneration.