Chong Kun Dang has entered the cell and gene therapy market in earnest. The drugmaker opened a gene therapy research center on Sept. 27 and unveiled a plan to strengthen open innovation with domestic and foreign companies.
The new research center is dubbed “Gen2C,” which stands for “Gene to Cure.” The company said the name reflects its will to contribute to improving human health by developing innovative therapeutics using genes. The center is located at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital Omnibus Park.
The global cell and gene therapy market is expected to grow from US$7.5 billion in 2021 to US$55.6 billion in 2026, according to market research firm Evaluate Pharma. The average annual growth rate is about 49.1 percent, which is very steep compared to a 5.7 percent growth rate for small molecule synthetic drugs during the same period.
However, cell and gene treatments are still in their infancy around the world. As of the fourth quarter of last year, 88 cell and gene treatments were approved worldwide. There are only nine genetically modified cell treatments, seven gene treatments, and 14 ribonucleic acid (RNA) treatments. Korean companies that have started clinical trials for gene therapies include Helixmith, AbClon, Curocell, and CellabMED.
Chong Kun Dang is planning to strengthen its expertise in gene therapy. Based on its experience in developing new drugs, it plans to develop treatments for rare and intractable diseases that have high unmet demand. In particular, it plans to focus on securing gene therapies and its own platform technology using adeno-associated viruses (AAVs), which have proven long-term efficacy and safety as a carrier.