The number of foreign patients visiting Korea to use Corestem’s NeuroNata-R is increasing, said Seo Choong-woo, an SK Security analyst.
NeuroNata-R is a stem cell treatment for Lou Gehrig's disease that slows down the speed of body function’s decline by 50 percent after six months of prescription in a clinical trial. The drug is administered twice every four weeks and costs approximately 60 million won ($55,136) annually.
“Fewer than give foreign patients had received NeuroNata-R until last year, but the approached 20 this year,” Seo said. “Given the hassle of having to visit Korea and the expense, including the cost of treatment, the increase in overseas patients proves their high expectations for NeuroNata-R.”
Seo credited the increase in foreign patients to a recent presentation made by Professor Kim Seung-hyun of the department of neurology at the Hanyang Medical Center and the co-researcher for NeuroNata-R.
“Professor Kim recently presented a two-year research result for NeuroNata-R at the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Motor Neuron Disease (ALS/MND) conference,” Seo said. “The presentation attracted considerable attention as the drug significantly reduced the rate of physical decline in the absence of effective treatments for Lou Gehrig's disease.”
Seo said in his analysis that the treatment has a high possibility of winning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as distinguished U.S. medical hospitals, including Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and ALS/MND Center at Houston Methodist Hospital, recommended their patients to receive treatment in Korea.
“The fact that many U.S. patients have to come to Korea, which takes time and money, to receive treatment with NeuroNata-R will likely raise the chances of the drug getting approval as it can serve as a burden for the FDA,” Seo said.
Corestem plans to visit FDA to apply NeuroNata-R next February for a Biologics License Application (BLA).