The Korea Herald


LG Chem sets course to new drug technologies after battery biz split-off

By Kim Byung-wook

Published : Dec. 24, 2020 - 16:31

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LG Chem's life science researchers (LG Chem) LG Chem's life science researchers (LG Chem)
LG Chem has recently purchased a series of new drug technologies from South Korean bio companies, as part of an effort to seek a new growth engine after it split-off of its battery business.

The company has signed two technology transfer agreements with local bio firms Medipost and ICM this month, the company said Thursday, with an aim to introduce two global new drugs within 10 years.

The technology transferred from Medipost can grow mesenchymal stem cells in large quantities. LG Chem aims to apply its genetic engineering technology to the mesenchymal stem cells to develop gene and cell treatment drugs that can reach target cells with precision.

The deal, which was signed on Dec. 23, gives LG Chem exclusive rights to develop and commercialize candidate materials for such drugs globally. In exchange, LG Chem will pay Medipost down payments, milestone payments depending on the level of clinical trials and commercialization, and royalties based on the net sales of the drugs.

“By focusing on developing innovative gene and cell treatment, LG Chem will introduce drugs that can fundamentally treat diseases to the global stage,” a company official said.

A separate agreement signed with ICM on Dec. 22 gives LG Chem exclusive business rights over ICM-203, an adenovirus-based degenerative arthritis treatment drug, in China and Korea. ICM, a subsidiary of Yonsei Technology Holdings, aims to launch a phase 1 clinical trial in the US and Australia. With ICM-203, LG Chem plans to treat not only degenerative arthritis but also autoimmune diseases.

Even before the recent battery division split-off, LG Chem has shown relentless efforts to secure bio technologies. In April, LG Chem bought business rights over GEN-001 -- a microbiome cancer drug -- in Southeast Asia from a local clinical stage biotechnology company Genome & Company. The GEN-001 is under a phase 1 clinical trial in the US.

In August, LG Chem reached an exclusive license agreement with China’s TransThera Biosciences to research, develop, manufacture and commercialize TT-01025, a candidate material for treating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and other inflammatory diseases, in global region except Greater China and Japan. The TT-01025 is under a phase 1 clinical trial in the US.

“LG Chem is focusing on candidate materials of new drugs for treating cancer, fatty liver and genetic diseases, for which only few drugs have been commercialized yet. We aim to double the number of candidate materials in clinical trials by 2024,” a company official said.

By Kim Byung-wook (