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Celltrion is developing world’s first HCM drug

Mar 26,2019
Celltrion is developing a new medicine for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart disease for which there is currently no official treatment, the company announced Monday.

The drug, CT-G20, is still in the early stage of development, but Celltrion has already signed an export deal with a Japanese client worth up to $25 million, including an upfront payment of $2.5 million. The rest of the deal is to come in milestone payments, meaning Celltrion will be paid after successfully reaching certain points in the development process. The name of the Japanese counterpart was not disclosed according to the agreement between two companies.

CT-G20 will undergo its first clinical test in Korea next month with a group of healthy subjects. Tests on patients suffering from HCM will launch in this year’s third quarter and are planned to finish by the end of 2022.

If the development goes as scheduled, the new drug will start sales in Korea and exports to the United States and Japan in 2023. The company will take charge of sales activities in Europe, the United States and Korea, while in other countries like Japan it will sell distribution rights.

HCM is a condition in which a portion of the heart’s muscle thickens. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. Symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, fainting or, in severe cases, cardiac arrest. The disease occurs equally in men and women of all ages. There is no known cause except genetics. The estimated prevalence rate is one in every 500 people.

According to Celltrion, there is no treatment officially acknowledged to be effective in curing HCM. Patients who suffer from the condition often take antihypertensive or antiarrhythmic drugs as alternatives in order to ease symptoms.

There are an estimated 650,000 HCM patients in the United States, among which an estimated 120,000 take drugs. Celltrion expects that demand in the United States alone has a market size of 3 trillion won ($2.65 trillion) per year.

“If the development of CT-G20 succeeds and receives approval from the FDA as a new drug, Celltrion will hold exclusive rights to the product for the next seven years,” the company said.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]