[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s biotech firm Alteogen said on July 27 that it has developed a recombinant antibody that can facilitate conversion from intravenous type of protein therapeutics to a more convenient subcutaneous route of administration.
The company said it has filed a patent for the technology it calls ATL-B4 in Korea, which it claimed is the world’s second recombinant human hyaluronidase enzyme after US-based Halozyme Therapeutic’s technology that rakes in some 350 billion won (US$312 million) per year through milestone payments and royalties from other companies.
“Subcutaneous injection technology will dominate the future of protein therapeutics. For example, Roche’s subcutaneous version of breast cancer therapy Herceptin has captured 50 percent market share in just a few years after its launch,” said Chung Kyung-hoon, director of the research center at Alteogen. Roche used Halozyme Therapeutic’s hyaluronidase for the new formulation.
A switch from intravenous infusion, which takes about 4 to 5 hours, to subcutaneous delivery offers less invasive and shortens administration times.
Alteogen also plans to apply ATL-B4 to its self-developed biosimilar candidates including its copycat version of Roche’s Herceptin. “We will gradually apply for patents in other countries so that the hyaluronidase can be applied to other intravenous antibodies and biopharmaceuticals,” he said.
Due to the increasing preference of patients toward self-administration of drugs, global drug makers with injectable biologics in the market are pushing for the development of the under-the-skin versions of their existing products.
Biosimilar makers are also following the trend. In March, Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin said the company plans to complete phase 3 clinical trials of a subcutaneous version of Remsima, a biosimilar referencing Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, which waslaunched in the US and European markets, to meet the needs of a wider range of patients. Celltrion hasn’t so far unveiled which technology it has adopted for the formulation transfer.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)