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SK Biopharmaceuticals working on seizure detection device: CEO

Company aims to sell W160b worth of epilepsy drug Cenobamate in the US this year

SK Biopharmaceuticals CEO Cho Jeong-woo speaks in an online press conference on Thursday. (SK Biopharmaceuticals)
SK Biopharmaceuticals CEO Cho Jeong-woo speaks in an online press conference on Thursday. (SK Biopharmaceuticals)
SK Biopharmaceuticals is in the process of developing a new device that can record brain activities to sense signs of seizure as part of the company’s efforts in strengthening its digital therapeutics, CEO Cho Jeong-woo said Thursday.

“The drive for digital therapeutics means that we are working on developing AI-driven platforms for new drugs based on the data that we have compiled over the last 30 years of our expertise in (central nervous system),” said Cho in an online press conference.

“We are in the process of developing a wearable device that can detect epilepsy. A clinical trial is expected to begin in the country this year. If things move swiftly, we plan to showcase the device at the CES in the near future.”

The CEO highlighted that the company looks to become a general healthcare provider that can offer all-in-one solution for patients covering the diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Cho said SK Biopharmaceuticals’ goal for this year is to double up in all areas including boosting sales, expanding the global market and its portfolio and accelerating the development of new products.

“Our object is to double the sales of Cenobamate in the US to record over 160 billion won ($131 million),” said Cho.

“We will actively expand our marketing strategies through TV commercials and social media campaigns. More sales activities will take place as the US has turned into the phase of removing the mask mandate.”

SK Biopharmaceuticals logged a record-high of 419 billion won in sales last year, up 1,600 percent on year. The sales of Cenobamate, the company’s first commercialized drug to treat epilepsy, posted 78 billion won in the US last year.

Cho said the goal is to secure the access for Cenobamate for some 9 million patients by expanding the global market by 2025.

The CEO also pointed out that the company is developing anti-cancer candidate SKL27969 to target brain tumors. He said the candidate is set to begin Phase 1 clinical trials this year after being approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

As for possible merger and acquisition plans in the future, Cho said SK Biopharmaceuticals is currently reviewing options with various companies. The company will work with research institutes, biotechnology firms and startups to introduce innovative ideas to create synergy in developing new drugs, he added.

Regarding the ailing stock price, the CEO said the company’s fundamental values to develop new drugs and sell them have not changed.

“Our mid- to long-term growth engine is ample and the stock price will follow up our performances in the future,” said Cho.

The stock price of SK Biopharmaceuticals soared to a record-high of 269,500 won in July 2020 shortly after it went public. But the company’s shares have continuously struggled since then to hit record-low of 73,000 won per share in January. It closed at 89,800 won on Thursday.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (