- ToolGen nosedives amid controversy over gene editing patents
Stock prices of GC Cell and ToolGen went in the opposite direction on Wednesday, with the former’s drug winning approval in the U.S. and the latter suffering a patent controversy.
GC Cell said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted an orphan drug designation (ODD) to immunotherapy Immuncell-LC for pancreatic cancer, following the nod for liver and brain cancer.
With the ODD, GC Cell can shorten the clinical trials and review process, saving time and cost of developing a new drug.
“The FDA’s ODD system supports the smooth development and approval of treatments for rare diseases or life-threatening diseases,” GC Cell said. “A drug with ODD status can have benefits such as tax relief, exemption of review fees for new drug approval, recognition of monopoly rights for seven years after sales license approval.”
The stock market reflected the anticipation for GC Cell’s new drug.
Transactions of GC Cell shares on the secondary KOSDAQ surged to 2.7 million shares as of noon on Wednesday from 210,000 shares on the previous day. The stock price of GC Cell jumped 29 percent to 65,900 won ($58.4) per share from 52,700 won. The price growth almost reached a daily limit of 30 percent to 68,500 won.
Shares of GC-affiliated companies also turned bullish.
GreenCross Medical Science’s shares spiked 28 percent to 12,900 won, and those of GC Labcell, 18 percent to 65,400 won, Wednesday.
In contrast, ToolGen’s shares on KONEX has been plunging for five consecutive trading days after a news report said the company illegally obtained gene editing patents called CRISPR-Cas9.
ToolGen’s stock price plummeted by the daily limit of 30 percent on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. On Wednesday, it further slid by 8 percent to 84,000 won.
“There are worries that the patent issue could negatively affect ToolGen’s income in the future. Investors were also afraid that the company might fail to move to KOSDAQ. Such sentiment seems to have been reflected in the stock price decline,” said an analyst.