World’s first Drug to Inhibit ITK and BTK for GvHD & Autoimmune Disease

Dec 15, 2019 | Autoimmune Disease, Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GvHD)

World’s first Drug to Inhibit ITK and BTK for GvHD & Autoimmune Disease

A Korean biotech claims its DWP213388 is the world’s first autoimmune disease treatment candidate and experimental drug to inhibit both interleukin-2-inducible T-cell kinase (ITK) and Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK)—both targets for immune cell activation. The sponsor of this preclinical-status target, Daewoong Pharmaceuticals, recently presented their most recent findings at the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) held in Orlando, Florida.

Graft Versus Host Disease (GvHD) Scenario

In the case of GvHD, when a patient first undergoes bone marrow transplantation, T cells from the transplanted bone marrow are often not accepted and are excessively activated. Activated T cells attack existing cells leading to other diseases, reports Korea Biomedical Review.

The Preclinical Research

The sponsor, Daewoong, conducted a GvHD-induced mice model at their New Drug Research Center and was able to confirm that the treatment suppresses symptoms and improved survival rates at 10mg dose per kilogram. The early-stage drug evidenced superior impact on rheumatoid arthritis (a repetitive autoimmune disease) and an additional protection against bone damage with a low dose as compared to conventional treatments and treating cytomegalovirus.

Park Joon-seok, director of Daewoong New Drug Research Center, commented, “We will contribute to improving the quality of life of patients by leading the development of global new drugs for patients with GvHD and autoimmune diseases, which lack effective therapeutic drugs.” Mr. Joon-seok suggests they will be ready for clinical trials by the end of 2020, which means they need to be filing an investigator new drug (IND) application soon.

Daewoong Pharmaceuticals

Its predecessor was founded in 1945, and they have the largest prescription drug sales in Korea and envisions someday to become a top 50 drug company. The Korean-based firm employs approximately 2,000 and develops medical drugs and supplements. They focus on areas in cardiology, dermatology, anti-biotic, autoimmune disease and others. Based in Seoul, they operate as a subsidiary to Daewoong, Co., Ltd., a global health care group. In addition to its product portfolio, which includes 15 blockbuster products, they have built a core competency for new drug development and cultivated a cooperative culture for collaboration with global partners.

Lead Contact

Park Joon-seok, Director of Daewoong New Drug Research Center


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