SK Biopharmaceuticals Foresees US$1 Billion in US Earnings by 2029


By Kim Boram

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) — SK Biopharmaceuticals Co., a pharmaceutical wing of South Korea’s SK Group, declared Tuesday that its anti-epilepsy drug, Xcopri, could generate US$1 billion in revenue in the United States by 2029.

Xcopri, or cenobamate, is a treatment for partial-onset seizures in adults developed by SK Biopharmaceuticals and its U.S. subsidiary SK Life Science. It was approved for medical use in the U.S. in late-2019 and in Europe in 2021. It is sold under the brand name Ontozry in Europe.

Its total prescriptions, or TRx, a key metric used by the pharmaceutical industry to measure a medicine’s launch performance, reached a monthly 22,000 in the U.S. this year and will increase to a monthly 30,000 next year to dominate the U.S. anti-epilepsy treatment market.

“We anticipate Xcopri to break even at the end of this year,” the company’s CEO Lee Dong-hoon said in a press conference. “In 2029, Xcopri’s sales in the U.S. could reach $1 billion before rising to $3.5 billion in 2032.

Last year, sales of SK Biopharmaceuticals decreased 50.8 percent year-on-year to 456.7 billion won ($362 million).

SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. CEO Lee Dong-hoon speaks during a press conference in Seoul on July 18, 2023, in this photo provided by the company. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

“Xcopri has a high gross profit margin of 90 percent and almost all of its revenues become net profit,” Lee said. “We anticipate that we could obtain more than $3.5 billion in cash from Xcopri in 2032.”

The executive said Xcopri will provide a steady cash flow in the following years and consequently give the company more room to expand its business portfolio to become a global bio-tech platform company.

Lee said his company will reinforce its therapeutic modalities of radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT), referring to a new class of cancer drugs that deliver radiation therapy directly and specifically to cancer cells, to achieve the goal.

Based on the business partnership between SK Group and TerraPower, a U.S. venture founded by Bill Gates that develops small-sized nuclear power reactors, SK Biopharm will seek rights for radioisotope supply to use in RPT medications.

The company will also strengthen its targeted protein degradation (TPD) platform, following the recent acquisition of the U.S. biotech company Proteovant Therapeutics, which has advanced TPD technology that allows the tackling of disease-causing protein.

The cell and gene therapy sector is another key future modality of SK Biopharm, he added.

“SK Biopharmaceuticals will reposition itself as a global big biotech with a unique business model as it will broaden its capability beyond being a single asset-based company into a tech platform one, while expanding into biologics from small molecule targeted therapy, and oncology central nervous system,” Lee said.

The corporate logo of SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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