|title||SK Biopharmaceuticals Enters Into A Collaboration Agreement to Study Lou Gehrig’s Disease|
Seoul, Korea, and Jacksonville, Fla. — South Korean biotech SK Biopharmaceuticals announced yesterday that they signed an agreement to collaborate with the Mayo Clinic for the discovery of new drugs targeting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease).
The collaboration aims to discover innovative drugs which may aid in the treatment of the disease. Current drugs are known to extend a patient’s life by only three months on average.
Dr. Jeong Woo Cho, Vice President for the Drug Development Business said, “This is the case of a happy marriage between a specialty company with excellent preclinical R&D and Mayo Clinic, a first-class research institute focused on a new scientific paradigm and equipped to take on specialized clinical trial. The collaboration aims to identify drug targets that help treat this fatal disease.”
Lou Gehrig’s disease is a neurological disorder which strikes one of every ten thousand people and every year 5,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease. The disease occurs acutely, and, within 3 years of diagnosis, 50 percent of the patients will have succumbed to the disease.
With their three year collaboration, SK Biopharmaceuticals will work with Mayo Clinic’s, Leonard Petrucelli, PhD., Chair and Professor of Neuroscience. Dr. Petrucelli’s laboratory has pioneered research in the neurosciences field. The first phase of the preclinical research collaboration will focus on chemical compounds that target TDP-43, a protein that is a prime suspect in the disease.
Dr. Cho said, “The company will pursue Fast Track development for the compound to meet the urgent need of many patients. In addition, the FDA permits designation as an Orphan disease for any disorder that affects fewer than 200,000 patients in the US to encourage research activity by the pharmaceutical industry of rare diseases. We hope that the compounds under development may also be applicable to other neurodegenerative diseases with similar origins, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.”
According to an industry source, Datamonitor, the market size for ALS is forecast to be $230 million dollars by the year 2017.
Dr. Sang Hoon Park, the President of SK biopharmaceuticals said, “This collaboration between SK biopharmaceuticals and Mayo Clinic is the result of the concept of Open Innovation, a strategy we have pursued that will merge our R&D capability with the innovative ideas of our collaborators. We will keep building networks with top institutes and companies to reach our goal to become a research-focused top global company.”
About SK biopharmaceuticals
SK biopharmaceuticals is a newly-independent biotech as of April this year, having been spun out from SK Holdings, the third-largest Korean conglomerate in South Korea. SK biopharmaceuticals focuses on discovery and development of new drugs as well as providing custom manufacturing services for the manufacture and sales of active pharmaceutical ingredients as well as also producing intermediates of drugs for major companies, including Pfizer and Roche, in their newly approved current Good Manufacturing Practices active pharmaceutical ingredient factories.
SK biopharmaceuticals has a preclinical research and development center located in Daejeon, South Korea, and its business development and clinical research center in New Jersey for the clinical development of its assets in the areas of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease. SK biopharmaceuticals leads all Korean pharmaceutical companies with 13 successfully filed INDs in the U.S.
For more information, visit www.skbp.com
About the Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com or MayoClinic.org/news.