Korea United Pharm accelerates development of incrementally modified new drugs
Korea United Pharm accelerates development of incrementally modified new drugs
  • Kim Kang-soo
  • 승인 2016.12.10 15:05
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Major products include Clanza CR Tab, Clavixin-duo Cap, and Cilostan CR Tab
President Kang Duk-youn

Korea United Pharm, Inc., a leading pharmaceutical company in Korea, is actively developing incrementally modified drugs. During the past decade, the company developed 5 incrementally modified drugs, and it is currently developing over 20 such drugs. Its major products include ‘Clanza CR Tab’, ‘Clavixin-duo Cap’, ‘and ‘Cilostan CR Tab’. And it aims to launch more than 2~3 different incrementally modified drugs annually starting next year. An incrementally modified drug is a medicine that has ingredients and efficacy similar to those of an original new drug but its property or formulation is changed to improve convenience in use.
It was selected as an ‘innovative pharmaceutical company’ by the Korean government in 2012. It is investing 12.4% of its annual sales in R&D, the highest ratio among pharmaceutical companies in Korea. Its R&D manpower exceeds 100, accounting for 13.5% of its total employees. Established in 1987, Korea United Pharm primarily developed generics in early stages, but it changed its policy to develop incrementally modified drugs soon after as it faced fierce competition in generics market.
The company commercialized the first incrementally modified new drug ‘Clanza CR Tab’, an anti-inflammatory analgesic, in 2010. While development of an original new drug typically requires more than 1 trillion won (approx. US$854 million) and over 10 years, an incrementally modified drug can be developed by spending around 5 billion won (approx. US$4.27 million) in about 5 years. In 2012, it launched its second incrementally modified drug ‘Clavixin-duo Cap’, a combined antiplatelet agent, and then it introduced ‘Cilostan CR Tab’, an antithrombotic treatment, and ‘Kalomin Tab’, an acute bronchitis drug, in 2013 and 2015 consecutively. In November this year, the company launched its fifth incrementally modified new drug, ‘Gastin CR Tab’, a dyspepsia treatment.
In 2015, the company gained 12 billion won (approx. US$10.2 million) in sales of its flagship product ‘Cilostan’, and it aims to raise 20 billion won (approx. US$17 million) from the drug this year. It records around 6 billion won (approx. US$5.12 million) in annual sales of ‘Clanza’, and it expects to gain over 10 billion won (approx. US$8.54 million) in annual sales of ‘Gastin’. “Revenue from incrementally modified drugs now represents 20% of our total sales, we expect to increase the ratio to 30% next year and to over 50% within 5 years. After beefing up capabilities with incrementally modified drugs, we aim to develop proprietary new drugs,” said Kang Deok-yeong, Chief Executive Officer of Korea United Pharm.
As part of its strategy to increase export, the company will upgrade manufacturing facilities and build new plants for producing anticancer treatments and inhaling drugs. It is currently conducting phase I clinical studies in China for ‘Clanza’ and ‘Cilostan’. And it plans to expand export of ‘Clanza’ from current Vietnam and the Philippines to Russia and Latin American countries.

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