The Korea Herald


SK Biopharmaceuticals eyes $15b market cap by 2026

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : July 18, 2023 - 15:46

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SK Biopharmaceuticals CEO Lee Dong-hoon speaks during a press conference held in Seoul on Tuesday. (SK Biopharmaceuticals) SK Biopharmaceuticals CEO Lee Dong-hoon speaks during a press conference held in Seoul on Tuesday. (SK Biopharmaceuticals)

SK Biopharmaceuticals plans to increase its corporate value to $15 billion by 2026, largely buoyed by burgeoning sales of the company’s seizure treatment Xcopri, or cenobamate, said the company's CEO Lee Dong-hoon during a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday.

Lee added that profits from Xcopri could be poured into mergers and acquisitions in the future, through which the company aims to diversify its product portfolio to include more biological medicines.

According to SK Biopharmaceuticals, sales of Xcopri in the US market is on an upward trend. The treatment’s total prescriptions per month reached 22,000 as of May this year. The company expects the monthly figure to grow to over 30,000 during the next year, which will make Xcopri to become the best-selling treatment in the US market.

Xcopri’s high margin rate, which surpasses 90 percent, will maximize the company’s profit, Lee added. “In the following years, Xcopri will be able to generate over 1 trillion won ($793 million) in sales per year,” Lee said. Lee anticipated that the company will be able to make 3-5 trillion won of cash through Xcopri sales until 2032.

With gains from Xcopri, SK Biopharmaceuticals will look into merger and acquisition opportunities. Through M&A deals, SK Biopharmaceuticals plans to secure its second new drug. Lee said SK Biopharmaceuticals is expected to strike a deal by 2025, and the company is currently looking for options.

The CEO also said the company will add new modalities through investments. The modalities that the company aims to add include radiopharmaceutical therapy (RTP), targeted protein degradation (TPD) and cell and gene therapy (CGT).

With new modalities, SK Biopharmaceuticals plans to start oncology drug development in the future.

In 2022, SK Group invested $250 million in TerraPower, which has technologies to produce medical radioisotopes that can be used in an RTP, which allows the targeted delivery of radiation to tumor cells.

In the TPD sector, SK Biopharmaceuticals acquired a 60-percent stake in the US biotech company Proteovant Therapeutics in June. Lee expects that acquisition will help the company secure TPD technology that can be used in developing new drugs for patients with debilitating diseases, including cancer.

SK Biopharmaceuticals will also make investments to secure CGT technology, which is expected to create synergy with SK Pharmteco which has CGT manufacturing capacity.

Lee explained that the addition of new modalities is part of SK Group’s strategy. “A task force has been forged earlier this year (within the group), and it is part of the group’s approach,” Lee said.