By Camaron Kao
ScinoPharm Taiwan (台灣神隆), which supplies active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), yesterday said its drug for hepatitis B, codeveloped with Genovate Biotechnology Co (健亞生技), was approved for sale in Taiwan on Oct. 7 and will hit the market by the end of the year.
The company said the oral generic drug — Livepro — can compete with existing drugs on the NT$2 billion (US$70 million) market in Taiwan as it generates less drug resistance and has a higher potency than its counterparts.
ScinoPharm Taiwan developed and manufactures Entecavir, the active pharmaceutical ingredient for Livepro, while Genovate is responsible for the following process to make the drug, ScinoPharm Taiwan said.
“Only about 20 percent of the estimated 3 million hepatitis B carriers receive treatment,” Genovate general manager Jen Chen (陳正) said at an investors’ conference.
Chen said the company can generate profits of NT$3 million to NT$4 million by selling the drug which will cover its previous investment on the drug within a year.
Genovate is also seeking opportunities to sell the drug in China, but it will take three to four years for Beijing to approve the drug, Chen said.
The company posted profits of NT$44.08 million, or NT$0.45 per share, in the first nine months of the year, down 27.5 percent from NT$60.8 million, or NT$0.63 per share, a year ago.
However, Chen said the company’s operating profit will reach a new record this year, after reported operating profit rose 84.9 percent year-on-year to NT$38.22 million over the same period.
Meanwhile, local drug maker Medigen Biotechnology Corp (基亞) said yesterday that it expects its new drug for curing liver cancer to be approved for sale in Taiwan next year, and in China and South Korea afterward.
“We are competing with Bayer AG to launch the first early-stage prevention drug for liver cancer in the world,” chief financial officer Bill Ou (歐朝銓) said at a press conference.
The company is currently conducting phase-three clinical trials of the drug — PI-88 — in Taiwan, China and South Korea, Ou said.
“We expect the Chinese market will grow steadily as the national average income rises,” Ou said.
The company expects it will find partners to sell the drug in Europe and the US in the middle of next year, when it receives 60 percent of the data from the phase three trials, he said.
The company is now in talks with pharmaceutical companies around the world to sell the drug in Europe and the US, he added.