SK Plasma expands business portfolio into rare and incurable disease treatment

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : January 14, 2022, 10:21 Updated : February 13, 2023, 16:37

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- SK Plasma, a South Korean producer of plasma-derived blood products, will expand its business into rare and incurable disease therapies, starting with a strategic investment in a genetically transformed cell developed by Curocell, a domestic biotech company, which is in a state of clinical trials. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

SK Plasma and Curocell would jointly promote the commercialization of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies at home and abroad. CAR-T cells attack tumors by modifying immune cells called "T cells." The T cells are administered back to the patient after undergoing a mass culture process. Because the therapy treats cancer by activating the patient's immune system, it causes fewer side effects.

By raising some 110 billion won ($92.8 million) through a paid-in-capital increase in 2021, SK Plasma launched a "No Research Development Only" (NRDO) unit to secure a pipeline of rare and incurable treatments. NRDO is a new business strategy that focuses on clinical demonstration and commercialization by bringing in promising drug candidates from outside.

SK Plasma would expand its pipeline in the field of rare and intractable diseases. "The rare and intractable disease field is significant in terms of relieving the hardships of numerous patients who must endure pain because there is no treatment. We will continue to discover new drug candidates with NRDO-based R&D strategies," SK Plasma CEO Kim Yun-ho was quoted as saying. 

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