GC Pharma, which considers cell therapy products as its new growth engine, is to open the “Cell Center,” which will integrate the capabilities of its subsidiaries in research and development (R&D) and production, by the end of this year. This is part of its strategy to accelerate development of cell therapy drugs through synergies among its affiliates.
According to pharmaceutical and bio industry sources on July 29, GC Pharma, formerly known as Green Cross Corporation, is set to open the Cell Center where Green Cross Cell Corporation, Green Cross Genome Corporation and Green Cross Lab Cell Corporation will be relocated as early as this fall. When the three companies are relocated to the center, their 600 employees will work in the same building.
With the establishment of the Cell Center, GC Pharma is planning to secure the leadership in the global cell therapy market by raising the speed of cell therapy product development via a synergy among its subsidiaries.
Currently, GC Green Cross Cell is developing a new immunotherapy, called CAR-T. The company acquired bio firm Innocell Corporation in 2012 to secure the competence in development of cell therapy products. In CAR T-cell therapy, a person’s T immune cells are removed and combined with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which is a gene that can recognize and kill the targeted cancer cells. These CAR-T cells are grown in large numbers and then injected into the patient. According to market research firm Coherent Market Insights, the global CAR-T treatment market, which was estimated at US$72 million (80.6 billion won) in 2017, is expected to show an average annual growth rate of 53.9 percent for the next 11 years and be worth US$8.3 billion (9.3 trillion won) in 2028.
In addition, Green Cross Lab Cell is now conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial for MG4101, a liver cancer treatment using natural killer (NK) cells, in South Korea. NK cells are considered part of the innate immune system because they can destroy cancer cells or abnormal cells in the body. MG4101 has become the world’s first unrelated donor-derived NK cell therapy product that entered a Phase 2 clinical study. The company has already acquired the patent for cell therapy mass production technology in not only South Korea but also the United States, Europe, Japan and China, accelerating commercialization.