Genemedicine, a company specializing in the development of anti-cancer virus gene therapy drugs, has successfully developed innovative genetic engineering technologies and nano-technology based anti-cancer virus new drug candidates that reflect 25 years of research. Genemedicine, which will be a company that can provide new hope and life opportunities to patients suffering from cancer, said, “All employees under the slogan ‘Surpassing Limitations, Exceeding Expectations’ will do their best to conduct research and development.”

AVING News interviewed Yun Chae-ok, the CEO of Genemedicine, which participated in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) KTVF.

Please introduce your company briefly.

Genemedicine is a company established in 2014, specializing in the development of anti-cancer virus gene therapy drugs with the advanced precision genetic engineering technology. As we have solved various technical challenges in the field of anti-cancer virus research for the past 25 years with the researchers, we have secured a number of source technologies with global competitiveness in the field of anti-cancer virus and gene therapy, and based on this, we are currently focusing on clinical development for commercialization. All of our employees including ourselves are committed to our work with the pride that Genemedicine is in the top position among bio company with a technological edge worldwide.

In particular, we have developed an anti-cancer adenovirus with patented genetic engineering technology that can solve the unmet needs of existing anti-cancer viruses and targeted therapeutics, and we are currently in clinical and non-clinical development. We have developed a number of next-generation anti-cancer viruses through patent technology for producing oncolytic viruses that selectively grow only in tumor cells and patents for inserting various anti-cancer treatment genes. These anti-cancer viruses can selectively kill only cancer cells through high proliferation capacity in tumor cells and rapid infectivity to surrounding tumor cells, and at the same time activate the anti-tumor immune response in the body, and suppress and eliminate metastasized tumor cells.

In addition, our anti-cancer virus exhibits a synergistic effect that greatly exceeds each anti-cancer effect when used together with the existing standard anti-cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy as well as the latest anti-cancer therapeutic agent, immune checkpoint inhibitor. So, it is a new drug candidate that can provide patients with various combination treatment opportunities along with outstanding medicinal properties.

Please tell us about your major anti-cancer virus gene therapy drug.

Based on genetic engineering improvements, we have the adenovirus platform and anti-virus new drug candidate that has much superior anti-cancer effects and safety than the commercially available Imlygic (Amgen, US) and H101 (SunwayBio, CN) based on the treatment gene loading technology. In particular, the new drug pipelines in which we are currently intensively conducting non-clinical/clinical development are as follows.

GM101 is an anti-cancer virus that possesses cancer cell-specific proliferation and selective cancer cell killing ability. Currently, Phase 1 clinical trials for solid cancer have been completed and Phase 2 clinical trial is being prepared. Especially, in existing clinical trials, anti-cancer effects have been confirmed to suppress not only the primary tumor of the patient, but also cancer produced by metastasis.

GM102 is a non-clinical stage new drug candidate that is being developed for refractory cancer such as pancreatic cancer. Especially, GM102 breaks down the overexpressed extracellular matrix around cancer cells, which is a typical cancer treatment obstacle, and shows excellent anti-cancer effects even in low-oxygen environments in carcinomas that have difficult anti-cancer effects. Selectively attacking only cancer cells and suppresses cancer metastasis, it is an anti-cancer virus specialized in treating intractable cancer.

GM103 is a new drug candidate that is preparing to enter clinical trials for metastatic lung and liver cancer. With GM103’s excellent cancer cell-selective anti-cancer action, it has a complex effect of suppressing blood vessels overexpressed in carcinoma as well as activating an anti-cancer immune response in the body to cancer cells. It is an excellent anti-cancer virus that can effectively suppress metastasized cancer together with primary cancer.

The anti-cancer viruses in the above pipeline are commonly characterized by having better efficacy in combination with existing standard chemotherapy. In other words, when used in combination with existing standard anti-cancer drugs or radiation therapy, as well as newly-immunized immunotherapeutics, it has excellent synergistic effects in terms of drug efficacy and safety. Therefore, our pipeline is expected to have broad marketability within the existing anti-cancer drugs market.

In addition, we are developing a patented anti-cancer virus formulation capable of systemic administration by applying our exclusive nano-technology to the anti-cancer virus. This formulation technology avoids the body’s immune system, which weakens the anti-cancer virus action, while at the same time making the anti-cancer virus systemically distributed, and simultaneously optimizing the selective action on cancer cells, thereby maximizing the efficacy and safety of the anti-cancer virus.

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, we are focusing on the company’s capabilities to promote successful clinical development of GM101, which has completed Phase 1 clinical trials for patients with solid cancer, and GM103 and GM102, which are preparing to enter clinical trials. In particular, all new drug candidates in the pipeline can be subject to expedited examination (conditional approval), so it may be possible to enter the market early by completing Phase 2 clinical trial and applying for a biologics license application (BLA). Therefore, in the case of GM101, which is being developed earlier, it is possible to obtain new drug approval in 2025 if early through expedited review, and GM103 and GM102 are also pursuing development plans with the aim of obtaining new drug approvals in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

Also, to achieve the future achievements of R&D to commercialization early, we are aiming to become an advanced global bio company within 10 years by building GMP production facilities internally and focusing on technology exports, joint development, and joint marketing opportunities with business development.

What value does the company want to realize?

Based on over 25 years of research in the field of anti-cancer virus production and gene therapy, we are building a unique global leading technology and anti-cancer drug pipeline. Through this, we are currently working on global clinical and non-clinical development to become a leading company in the next-generation anti-cancer drug market.

Ultimately, through the development of these new drugs, we intend to improve the quality of life and provide new opportunities for life by providing innovative treatment methods to patients with refractory cancer who had no treatment methods. In addition, we made effective systemic administration of anti-cancer virus and maximized cancer-selective action possible by applying anti-viral formulation manufacturing technology that can be administered systematically based on nanotechnology to our anti-cancer virus, and we are expecting our company’s anti-cancer virus to step up to best-in-class.

Tell us about a KTVF program that was helpful.

While in Startup Leap Package Program, we have received support for IR and mentoring related to human resources. Since we are still a start-up company, we didn’t have much knowledge and experience in corporate public relations/human resources, and the government programs were timely. A program like this can be very helpful when used at the right time. In the future, if the business support programs required for business operations are diversified and become available at all times so that the startups can focus on R&D and commercialization, it can improve the competitiveness of the corporates and it can greatly help to strengthen the ecosystem of bio startups.

Any last comments?

Genemedicine aims to grow into a high-tech global bio company. Growing into a global company in one area is a very challenging task for startups like us. However, as what our slogan “Surpassing limitations & Exceeding expectations” implies, all of our employees will always do our best to overcome the limits and surpass the expectations. In addition, the success of the business that Genemedicine strives for contributes to the strengthening of national competitiveness in the bio industry and gives hope to the patients in suffering and the families. All of our employees know the importance of it when we do our work. We hope that the government’s policy support will continue to help companies like us continue to realize their visions significantly.

Korea Techno-Venture Foundation (KTVF), which supported companies participating in the MIK HOT SPOT (Made in Korea Online Exhibition), is a non-profit foundation funded by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) to promote new technology startups and support global advancement. Since its establishment in 2001, it has established a close cooperation network with research institutes, universities and related institutions, as well as overseas organizations in Japan and the Eurasia region, and have promoted step-by-step customized support projects that connects “startup – fostering – commercialization – global marketing” to create the entrepreneurship ecosystem. KTVF said, “As an accelerator that supports global technology commercialization through discovering, fostering, and investing in tech-startups with high growth potential, we intend to contribute to the success and job creation of small and medium-sized venture companies.”

The global news network AVING News has begun holding the MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) to help small and medium-sized companies enter the market and attract investment 365 days a year’ AVING News has been running online exhibitions since 2005 and had 975 online exhibitions so far. Its YouTube online exhibition has placed itself as Korea’s largest online exhibition hall that opens with 19,000 videos (booths) with more than 800,000 visits per month which means more than 10 million visits per year. The MIK HOT SPOT online exhibition is scheduled to be held regularly according to the field, target market, and participating institutions, and it will be presented as a new type of online business by transforming the know-hows and values of the participating companies according to the trend. Companies that want to participate can apply and apply through the marketing support projects from supporting institutions in the local governments. Refer to the institutions for more information.

→ Go to MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) special page

→ Go to MIK Hot Spot (Made in Korea Online Exhibition) information page