SK Chemicals said Monday that it has signed a licensing agreement with Bial, a Portuguese pharmaceutical company, to exclusively market Ongentys, a Parkinson's disease treatment.
|Jeon Kwang-hyun (left), head of SK Chemicals’ pharma division, and Bial CEO Antonio Portela sign a licensing agreement for the marketing of Ongentys, at SK Chemicals headquarters in Panggyo, Gyeonggi Province, Monday.|
Ongentys is a drug that inhibits the breakdown of “levodopa” in the bloodstream, a therapeutic agent that helps supplement dopamine in the brain. Most patients who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease lack dopamine.
During the long-term administration of levodopa, most patients reach a period where the efficacy of the drug decreases, showing symptoms of slow-moving behavior before taking the next medication. Most Parkinsonian patients develop symptoms if the disease progresses for more than a few years.
Combination therapies such as Ongentys play the role of improving such symptoms by prolonging the effect of levodopa.
The drug, which has a mechanism that increases levodopa delivered to the brain by inhibiting its degradation, showed to be more efficient regarding off-time (the time when the patient is unable or has difficult moving) vs. the conventional Entacapone.
Although the proportion of patients who stopped clinical trials due to drug-related side effects was similar to that of entacapone, the drug also managed to lower side effects levels such as nausea and staining.
Bial has conducted phase 3 clinical trials in 30 countries around the world, including Europe and Korea. SK Chemicals aims to launch the drug in 2020 and plans to apply for sales approval to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in the first half of this year.
“Ongentys will become a therapeutic alternative to improve the symptoms of movement fluctuations, a typical symptom of Parkinson's patients,” said Jeon Kwang-hyun, head of SK Chemicals’ pharma division. “The company plans to establish public health rights by strengthening its portfolio on treatments related to central nervous systems.”