The Korea Herald


[JPM 2024] Yuhan Corp. to launch two novel therapies in three years

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 11, 2024 - 14:45

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Yuhan Corp. R&D President Kim Yeol-hong speaks at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference' Asia-Pacific track session, held in San Francisco, Tuesday. (Yuhan Corp.) Yuhan Corp. R&D President Kim Yeol-hong speaks at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference' Asia-Pacific track session, held in San Francisco, Tuesday. (Yuhan Corp.)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yuhan Corp. plans to bring at least two novel drugs, which may include an oncology treatment, to the global market by 2026, with an ambitious vision to become one of the world's top 50 pharmaceutical companies, it said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference' Asia-Pacific track presentation session Tuesday.

"Yuhan covers multiple fields in the realm of biopharmaceuticals, from discovering, manufacturing, to sales and marketing, and currently possess 29 innovative drug pipelines," Yuhan Corp.'s R&D President Kim Yeol-hong said.

Currently, the company is advancing the development of YH32367, an immuno-cancer drug candidate, and YH35324, a candidate for allergy treatment. Kim underscored the goals of expediting the clinical stages of various new drug substances and actively seeking global partners to accelerate the pipeline.

"We have achieved significant success in the realms of oncology and metabolic diseases, prompting further investment in these particular areas," Kim said.

Yuhan's confidence in its drug candidates largely stems from the successful collaboration with Johnson & Johnson on the non-small cell lung cancer treatment Leclaza.

As Leclaza obtained regulatory nod for its use as a first-line therapy in Korea in June last year after gaining approval as a second-line therapy in 2021, the company expects that its sales will see a sharp increase, as the market for a first-line therapy is much larger.

Revealing the outcomes of multinational phase 3 clinical trials for combination therapy overseen by Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, Kim expressed optimism regarding the approval of the drug beyond the country's borders.

"We are eagerly awaiting approval updates from the US Food and Drug Administration and Europe's European Medicines Agency, with the results anticipated to come out in the latter half of this year," Kim said.

The company anticipates substantial success if the combination therapy secures approval in the US and Europe, projecting potential annual sales of at least $5 billion.

"Over the past decade, we have solidified our global presence by establishing open innovation offices in the US, Europe, Australia and Hong Kong. The offices are dedicated to fostering collaborative R&D offices and seeking investing opportunities with partners."

Meanwhile, Yuhan Corp. is dedicated to ongoing innovation through open collaboration, facilitated by the Yuhan Innovation Program, of which the firm cooperates with research institutes and reputable universities in the field. Kim noted that this program will eventually yield partnerships with domestic biotech firms, contributing to the establishment of a competitive pipeline for developing the next novel drug.