[New agreement]KDDF to provide funding support for seven new first-in-class drug candidates, including immune-based antibody and gene therapy 12.05.2016

[New agreement]

KDDF to provide funding support for seven new first-in-class drug candidates, including immune-based antibody and gene therapy


As part of its initiative to reform Korea’s industrial R&D paradigm and to spur the global licensing-out opportunity of new drugs, the Korea Drug Development Fund (KDDF) has announced that a total of 7 new drug candidates have been finally designated as KDDF’s core projects to boost the development and research activities, following strict screening procedures for a number of applications submitted since June 2016.


Eligible candidates for the announced project as of December 5th are Alteogen, Dong-A ST, Enzychem LifeSciences, Scripps Korea Antibody Institute, Hanlim Pharma, Yonsei University, and Olipass.


Alteogen is developing long-acting therapeutics based on NexP™ fusion technology platform. The company has said that ALT-Q2, a long-acting version of clotting factor VIIa for the treatment of bleeding episodes in patients with hemophilia A with inhibitors to factor VII deficiency, has significantly increased the in vivo half-life of factor VIIa compared to currently used NovoSeven® (recombinant factor VIIa). Therapeutic proteins or peptides fused with NexP show excellent properties as long-acting therapeutic proteins and peptides without causing any loss of activity of medicines.


Dong-A ST’s natural product DA-9803 is in the preclinical stage as a new promising therapeutic agent for Alzheimer's disease, with a mechanism to inhibit the phosphorylation between beta amyloid (Aβ) and tau that may result in the enhancement of cognitive function. The company is now preparing a clinically available biomarker protocol as part of its efforts to verify the development potential of DA-9803, with an objective to file its IND application in the U.S.


Enzychem LifeSciences has focused on the development of a global new oral drug to treat chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) in a phase II trial. CIN often leads to a dosing delay and/or reduction of dose, resulting in compromised chemotherapy. The company’s goal is to develop an orally efficacious drug that can be generally applicable to both febrile and afebrile neutropenia with an excellent safety profile.


Scripps Korea Antibody Institute plans to develop humanized antibody candidates that target PD-L1, a ligand for the immune checkpoint receptor PD-1, which is expressed on tumor and immune cells. With the objective to independently create next-generation antibodies with excellent efficacy and less side-effects, the company will conduct screening tests to evaluate anti-tumor efficacy in both in vitro and in vivo models, to identify physicochemical properties, and to verify the interactions between related proteins prior to initiating preclinical trials to identify the antibodies that have better affinity.


Hanlim Pharma has endeavored to develop their first topical eye drop (HL217) for treating age-related macular degeneration. HL-217, a new topical anti-angiogenic agent, inhibits retinal vascular leakage and pathogenic subretinal neovascularization in mice, through its mechanism to decrease the expression levels of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and PDGF (platelet derived growth factor) receptors and to inhibit the PDGF-BB/PDGFRβ interaction.


Yonsei University aims to develop oncolytic adenovirus-based immunotherapeutic agents that have been shown to exert systemic antitumor immunity and to result in eradication of both primary and metastatic cancers. The oncolytic adenovirus-based immunotherapeutics can increase the ability to kill cancer cells and tumor-specific immunity as an organic combination of genes that may exhibit mutually complementary actions.


OliPass is at the forefront of the new-concept SCN9A antisense oligonucleotide “OLP-1002”. OLP-1002 is a novel antisense medicine for pain management. The company will evaluate the safety profile of OLP-1002 in animal experiments in accordance with the principles of good clinical laboratory practice. Through GMP-based production of clinical drugs, OliPass has a plan to file its IND application in Europe, thus generating novel antisense therapeutics.