Biotechnology company ScinoPharm Taiwan Ltd (台灣神隆) yesterday announced plans to form a joint venture with Foresee Pharmaceutical Inc of the US to develop new drugs to treat prostate cancer.
The company said it would invest US$3.6 million for a 15 percent share in the new venture. The drug will enter the third phase of clinical trials this year and commercial sales in the US could start within four years.
“The drugs we aim to develop will have high entry barriers and offer high profit margins. We will not develop drugs that cannot be put on the market within four years,” ScinoPharm president and CEO Jo Shen (馬海怡) told an investors’ conference.
The market for prostate caner drugs is estimated at about US$2.6 billion a year, Shen said.
Shen said there are about 2 million men who have prostrate cancer in the US, and the number is forecast to rise by 240,000 per year.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death among all cancers for males in the US.
ScinoPharm Taiwan also released estimates of last year’s earnings, with pretax profit estimated to have grown 16.8 percent to a record NT$1.37 billion, or NT$2.15 per share, from NT$1.14 billion, or NT$1.84 per share, in 2011.
ScinoPharm chief financial officer Patricia Chou (周珮芬) attributed the strong financial results to better-than-expected sales of company drug Vilazodone, which is used to treat depression.
Growth was also driven by its supply of raw materials to manufacture Qsymia, which was launched by VIVUS Inc last year in the US to help people lose weight, Chou said.
Shen said the company was looking to expand to Japan and China.