Bio-venture firm GI Innovation hopes to be listed on S. Korean version of NASDAQ

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 14, 2023, 17:56 Updated : September 5, 2023, 17:37

[Courtesy of GI Innovation]

SEOUL -- As a promising unicorn in South Korea's bio-venture sector, GI Innovation aims to be listed on KOSDAQ, the South Korean version of the U.S stock market NASDAQ. At an initial public offering briefing held on March 13, the bio-venture company unveiled its scheme to transfer five additional technologies by 2028. 
During the briefing session, the company's CEO Rhee Byung-geon proudly introduced GI-SMART, a smart screening system capable of detecting optimal dual fusion protein candidate materials at an early stage. Through GI-SMART, various treatments including immunotherapy agents -- GI-101 and GI 102 -- and GI-301, an allergy treatment drug candidate, were developed. So far, the company has 27 registered patents and completed 138 patent applications.
In October 2022, GI-101 was designated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an orphan drug, which is allowed to be used for extremely rare and incurable diseases with an annual prevalence of less than 100,000. The agent was proven to be effective in treating Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). It is an incurable disease that appears in Merkel cells which detect various senses such as texture and pressure and transmit them to the brain. 
GI Innovation said GI-102 showed a high level of lymphocyte proliferation after drugs were administered in the preclinical stage. In 2023, GI-102 was approved by the U.S. FDA to carry out clinical trials. The first and second stages of clinical trials will be conducted in South Korea and abroad.
The allergy treatment GI-301 can effectively handle allergic reactions with its Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody that travels to cells. GI-301 showed about 70 times higher lgE binding power than other competitive drugs, Rhee said, adding that it showed significant blood lgE reduction effect only with a single administration. Yuhan, a pharmaceutical and chemical company in South Korea, signed a contract worth some 20 billion won ($15.2 million) in 2020 to co-develop and sell GI-301 in overseas markets except for Japan. 
"The funds raised through the listing would be used for clinical trials of major pipelines, follow-up pipeline research and development, and the expansion of research centers," said Rhee. 
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