Apparently mindful of a rival botulinum toxin scheduled to be released in the first half, German drugmaker Merz Pharmaceutical emphasized that its original product Xeomin was “the only purity toxin” without complexing proteins.
Dr. Jürgen Frevert at Merz, who developed the company’s BTX Xeomin, mentioned about Medytox’ Coretox, the rival treatment, at a news conference for Merz’s 10th anniversary of the launch of Xeomin on Friday.
|Dr. Jürgen Frevert at Merz Pharmaceutical speaks during a news conference in Seoul, Friday. (Credit: Merz Korea)|
“(Coretox) is known to be 150kDa but I don’t think it will have the same composition with that of Xeomin,” Frevert said. “Medytox has not disclosed any clear data, so we don’t know if their product is a pure toxin.”
150kDa refers to a BTX with the active therapeutic neurotoxin without complexing proteins that are likely to cause drug resistance. Until now, Merz’ Xeomin was the only 150kDa BTX. Other BTX products by the market leader Allergan and other Korean companies are classified as 900kDa that contains complexing proteins.
Medytox developed Coretox to challenge Xeomin. Coretox won domestic approval in 2016 as 150kDa BTX.
Observers said Coretox would be a strong competitor against Xeomin, which has been sold at a high price based on its exclusivity as 150kDa BTX. Besides, the local good Coretox is cheaper than the imported drug Xeomin.
Frevert also raised questions about the safety of Coretox.
“Coretox contains a surfactant and sodium chloride. Studies have already pointed out that sodium chloride has a negative impact on drug safety. It is unknown what kind of effect surfactants have on immunogenicity,” he said. “However, Xeomin uses fructose to guarantee safety, and this has been proven by data accumulated in the past decade.”
Medytox refuted Merz’ claim.
“It is Merz’ arbitrary opinion. If they are not sure that our product is 150kDa, we could officially prove it through an academic debate,” an official at Medytox said.
To enlarge a market share, Merz recently embarked on a campaign to provide information about botulinum toxin’s drug resistance risk.
If consumers are more aware that safety against drug resistance is a significant factor in choosing BTX, they will choose safer but more expensive Xeomin, Merz said.