Drugmaker TaiGen Biotechnology Co (太景生技) yesterday said it submitted an application to the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) on Tuesday last week to set the price of a new antibiotic, with the hope that the company would be able to sell the drug in Taiwan within six months after receiving the administration’s approval.
“It is the first time the government has set the price of a new drug that has not yet been launched in other countries,” TaiGen chief executive officer and chairman Hsu Ming-chu (許明珠) told reporters, adding that based on government standards, the price set for the antibiotic is expected to be enough for the company to cover its production costs.
The drug, nemonoxacin — which is sold under the trade name of Taigexyn — in oral formulation, is under review in China for a manufacturing permit and TaiGen plans to charge patients purchasing the antibiotic, which is used to treat community-acquired pneumonia, a similar amount on either side of the Taiwan Strait, Hsu said.
The price in Taiwan is set to serve as a benchmark for other nations should the company sell the drug in other markets, Hsu said.
TaiGen is finalizing talks with a local sales agent to distribute the drug to hospitals, Hsu said, without disclosing the name of the agent.
As for the intravenous formulation of nemonoxacin, the drug is undergoing phase-three clinical trials in China and Taiwan, Hsu said.
From June through to last week, TaiGen has recruited 171 patients for trials of intravenous nemonoxacin, and the company aims to recruit 530 patients in total to complete the trials, Hsu added.
TaiGen expects that peak sales of both oral and intravenous formulation of nemonoxacin would generate NT$350 million to NT$400 million (US$11.31 million to US$12.93 million) per year in Taiwan and 1 billion yuan (US$162.96 million) per year in China.
From January to last month, the company posted revenue of NT$92.01 million, up 60.09 percent from NT$57.47 million a year earlier, due to a licensing fee from Moscow-based drug maker R-Pharm to sell both oral and intravenous nemonoxacin in Turkey, the Russian Federation and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, TaiGen chief financial officer Max Chan (詹孟恭) said.
The company reported losses of NT$290.12 million in the past three quarters, up 6.1 percent from losses of NT$273.45 million a year ago because of higher research and development costs, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Chan said the company’s research and development costs would be about NT$500 million this year, similar to a year ago, while the costs would be higher next year as more of its drugs enter the final stages of clinical trials.
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