Invossa, a novel cell-mediated therapy for degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, of the knee, is running to the last hurdle after 19 years of the investment by Kolon Group chairman Lee Woong-yeul.
Kolon Group successfully listed TissueGene, the original developer of Invossa, on South Korea's secondary KOSDAQ market to raise money for research and development (R&D) investment with an aim to start the phase 3 clinical trials of Invossa in the U.S. next year. Shares of TissueGene officially began trading on the KOSDAQ on November 6 and TissueGene has become the sixth largest firm by market cap on the market from the first day of trading.
TissueGene is a Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company founded in June 1999 for the purpose of developing osteoarthritis treatments. The firm is owned by the Seoul-based Kolon Group. Kolon Life Science holds a 14.37 percent stake in TissueGene, while Kolon Corp. owns a 31.16 percent stake.
TissueGene attracted attention on the stock market due to Invossa. Invossa is the world’s first cell-based therapy for osteoarthritis. Kolon Group received a permission from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to market Invossa in July as the 29th novel therapy developed by a South Korean company. According to the results of the phase 3clinical trials in South Korea, a single injection of the drug dramatically relieves the knee pain of patients.
TissueGene will begin the phase 3 clinical trials of Invossa in the U.S. early next year and aims to get a license in the U.S. by 2022. When Invossa passes the clinical trials, it is expected to turn over US$3.2 billion (3.6 trillion won) in 2028 in the U.S. alone after commercialization in 2023. Therefore, TissueGene has raised 150 billion won (US$134.51 million) to make an investment in R&D through the IPO.
Kolon Group Chairman Lee Woong-yeul was behind the successful development of Invossa. Lee has started developing Invossa from 1999 through TissueGene. He reveals his affection for Invossa, saying, “I spent one third of my life developing Invossa.” The success of Invossa is expected to change the landscape of Kolon Group’s pharmaceutical business in the future.