The Korea Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that it will allow the manufacturing and selling of 'Supect', a new treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
The drug will help leukemia patients who've grown tolerant to current medications like Gleevec, developed by Novartis a multinational pharmaceutical company.
Il-yang Pharmaceutical Company is the third in the world and first in Asia to develop a leukemia treatment following Novartis and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The company said that it went through clinical tests of patients who had become tolerant to Gleevec in nine Korean general hospitals, as well as in India and Thailand.
[Reporter : Hwang Ji-hye, firstname.lastname@example.org] "Supect is expected to be out in the market sometime in the first half of this year, and clinical tests for using the medicine as a primary treatment to cure leukemia are currently underway."
Supect will serve as an alternative to Gleevec if and when the clinical tests that have been ongoing since last August in 20 different Asian countries, including India, the Philippines, and Indonesia turn out to be successful.
The price of the new Korean medicine is also expected to be lower than those of multinational corporations.
[Interview : Kim Dong-yeon, CEO
IL-YANG Pharm.] "We are planning to provide the medicine at a cheaper price, some 20 to 30 percent cheaper than those now on the market."
The drug administration said that the health ministry has given Il-yang 4.3 billion won, or roughly 4 million US dollars to develop the new drug since 2006, and it plans to continue such support.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.