Eye on Pharma: Celltrion to Develop Novel Drugs Alongside Biosimilars

June 6, 2018
The Center for Biosimilars Staff

Republic of Korea-based biosimilar developer Celltrion, maker of Inflectra, has announced that it will launch a contract development and manufacturing business to develop novel agents alongside its biosimilar pipeline.

Republic of Korea-based biosimilar developer Celltrion, maker of Inflectra, has announced that it will launch a contract development and manufacturing business to develop novel agents alongside its biosimilar pipeline.

Celltrion said in a statement that the new undertaking will allow the company to collaborate and partner with research institutes and biotechnology firms to successfully commercialize innovative molecules, and partners would benefit from sharing in Celltrion’s accumulated development expertise.

The new effort will focus initially on the therapeutic areas that have “the greatest synergy with Celltrion’s portfolio,” namely inflammatory diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

The news follows closely on the heels of another announcement concerning partnerships for Celltrion; on May 30, 2018, the company signed an agreement with Yonsei University Health System (which includes 4 hospitals that serve 3 million outpatients and 1 million inpatients each year) to jointly develop and license fc-saxatilin, a proposed therapy for the treatment of ischemic stroke.

Saxatilin is a snake venom that exerts thrombolytic and antiplatelet effects by interacting with multiple integrins on platelets. The researchers developing the drug believe that fc-saxatilin, an Fc-fusion protein, could prevent vascular leakage in patients with ischemic stroke by regulating occludin expression in endothelial tight junctions.1

Celltrion expects that the market for drugs targeting ischemic stroke will grow by 6.8% per year until 2020, and it hopes that an eventually approved fc-saxatilin could compete with Genentech’s thrombolytic drug, alteplase (Activase), for a share of the market.

A Celltrion executive said in a statement, “In order to bolster our next-generation pipeline, in addition to the development of antibody biosimilars, we have continued efforts to explore platform technologies and new molecules in relation to the development of new biopharmaceuticals and synthetic drugs. Through the agreement with Yonsei University Health System, we will push for open innovation to secure new drug pipelines.”

Reference

1. Choi HJ, Kwon I, Kim NE, et al. Fc-saxatilin suppresses hypoxia-induced vascular leakage by regulating endothelial occludin expression. Thromb Haemost. 2017;117(03): 595-605. doi: 10.1160/TH16-06-0469.