GlaxoSmithKline Korea said Tuesday it has taken over the largest market share in Japan with its male hair loss treatment Avodart (dutasteride). The news comes on the heels of JW Pharma announcing successful development of a dutasteride tablet generic Monday.
According to GSK Korea, Avodart took the top market share in November last year after long playing second fiddle to Merck’s Propecia (finasteride) in Japan, where oral hair loss treatments are sold the most in the world.
Avodart (dutasteride) is a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor indicated for the treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia and hair loss in males. The drug blocks the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that causes male pattern baldness.
The drug was first approved in Korea in 2009 and has since proven its efficacy, mainly by reducing DHT concentration by 92 percent at 24 weeks of treatment.
"As annual Avodart sales have been growing at double digits since its launch in Korea, we will use this opportunity to provide good treatment solutions for patients with male hair loss in the country,” said GSK Korea’s Park Hye-ryun from the department of marketing.
Despite the strong sales of Avodart in Japan, companies in the hair loss therapy market in Korea are witnessing an influx of generics developed by domestic pharmaceutical firms after Avodart went off patent last year.
Korean firms such as Dongkook Pharm, Hyundai Pharm, Hanmi, Daewoong, JW Shinyak, Tai Guk Pharm, and Dong-A ST are all in the race for developing generics.
Dongkook’s Pansidil posted more than 6.5 billion won ($6.1 million) in accumulated sales in the third quarter of 2017 while the accrued sales of Hyundai Pharm’s liquid OCT therapy Minoxyl stood at more than 4 billion won in the same period.
Now JW Pharma’s successful development of a tablet formulation of dutasteride marks the first time a domestic pharmaceutical company succeeded in developing a tablet form of the drug. JW Pharmaceutical expects to release the generic in Korea in the second half of this year, it said, adding that the company is trying to enter foreign markets.
The global market for dutasteride was around 1 trillion won ($930 million) last year, according to IMS Health.