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Icure Acquires Drug Product Approval for World's First Donepezil Patch for Treating Dementia of the Alzheimer Type in Korea


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Icure Acquires Drug Product Approval for World's First Donepezil Patch for Treating Dementia of the Alzheimer Type in Korea

Icure Pharmaceutical Inc a biopharmaceutical company in Korea, announced that its donepezil patch, a treatment of Alzheimer’s-type dementia, received a drug product approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of Korea.

The drug product approval process took 7 months after it filed an application in April 2021. With the approval, Icure marks the first commercialization of the donepezil patch in the world.

Donepezil is a current typical treatment that has been widely prescribed for the longest period for Alzheimer’s disease patients in severity ranging from mild to moderate and severe ones among FDA-approved Alzheimer's treatments. Due to difficulty in the development of its formulations, donepezil has been commercialized for only oral administration to date.

With successful completion of a Phase III clinical trial for the first time in the world, the donepezil patch of Icure is expected to significantly improve the quality of life of patients with Alzheimer’s-type dementia and their caregivers by enhancing the convenience in its use from orally taking once daily to putting a patch on skin twice a week.

With nearly 400 mild and moderate dementia patients in Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Malaysia, Icure successfully conducted a Phase III clinical study for its donepezil patch. Specifically, the study demonstrated noninferiority compared to oral donepezil in Alzheimer's disease assessment scale cognitive subscale (ADAS-cog), a typical standard tool for evaluating abilities of memory, language, reorganization, action and orientation in patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer’s-type dementia.

“Based on outstanding efficacy and marketability of donepezil along with our technological prowess, we expect our donepezil patch will sufficiently take over the market of donepezil oral products as we have seen a high conversion rate of rivastigmine patches in the past,” said CEO YoungKweon Choi, Ph.D. of Icure, who led donepezil patch development. “We reported results of the Phase III clinical trial of donepezil patch at the Conference on Clinical Trials of Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) that was held on November 9~12, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.” He attended the CTAD Conference to present the results of the clinical study while making consultations on potential global transactions.

Now that its donepezil patch received FDA approval for Phase I clinical trial as an investigational new drug in April 2021, Icure will start to administer it to patients in the latter part of 2022. The company expects to begin in 2025 to provide the donepezil patch in the global market by reducing the period of clinical trials through the 505(b)2 clinical study track. Today, the global dementia treatments market is estimated to reach around USD 3 billion, and it is anticipated to increase to roughly USD 5 billion by 2024 as the world transforms into an aging society. Icure plans to expand the global business of transdermal drug delivery system (TDDS) as its production facilities in Wanju, Korea obtained the cGMP certification.

Starting with the donepezil patch, Icure diversifies pipelines by developing a variety of DDS-based incrementally modified drugs and new drugs. Following the donepezil patch, the company is developing a pramipexole patch that will be used for treating Parkinson’s disease. And Icure BNP, a subsidiary of Icure, is currently developing oral liraglutide peptide formulation from injectable liraglutide peptide product that is being used for treating diabetes and obesity while accelerating the development of microneedles and lipid-based nanoparticle (LNP) drugs through CuRsuS Bio and EBA BIO. In addition, Icure is also in the development of the world’s first oral peptide-based anticancer drug and a new drug based on PROTAC through oneCureGen and Dandi Cure, attracting attention on the potentiality of growing into a global pharmaceutical company by developing varied DDS-based new drugs.

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