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Daewoong initiates clinical trial assessing microneedle patch loaded with GLP-1

Daewoong Pharmaceutical will commence full-scale development of an obesity treatment utilising a microneedle patch loaded with glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues. The microneedle technology, which involves applying an ultra-small 1cm² patch to the arm or abdomen, represents an advanced formulation that significantly enhances user convenience over traditional obesity treatments. Daewoong Pharmaceutical is set to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials early next year, with the goal of commercializing the product by 2028.

The company is developing an innovative, painless microneedle obesity treatment that can be applied weekly to the arms or abdomen, delivering medication directly through the microvasculature, offering a convenient alternative to traditional, injectable GLP-1 analogue therapies. It maintains the efficacy of existing injectables and offers the significant benefit of room temperature storage, eliminating the need for a cold storage system. This is a marked improvement over oral obesity treatments, which suffer from low absorption rates of about 1% bioavailability and often cause unpleasant side effects such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea.

Daewoong Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Daewoong Pharmaceutical, has completed preclinical studies and compiled data for a microneedle patch within the Semaglutide series, a GLP-1 analogue, using its proprietary Closed-Packed Aeroperssured Microneedle (CLOPAM) platform. This platform is secured by six international and 23 domestic patents, of which five are registered, encompassing various aspects of manufacturing and packaging. The technology addresses previous challenges, significantly enhancing drug uniformity, preventing contamination, and ensuring stability. The microneedle manufacturing technology preserves the integrity of the biodegradable needles, which are sensitive to moisture and impact, until they are used. These soluble microneedles release the drug into the body as they dissolve.

Morgan Stanley forecasts a substantial expansion in the global obesity treatment market, with expectations to reach 104 trillion won by 2030. Daewoong Pharmaceutical is poised to enter this market with its innovative microneedle obesity treatment by 2028, aiming to revolutionise the sector by addressing the limitations of current therapies, especially in improving treatment adherence. This novel treatment, nearing Phase 1 clinical trials, could help prevent weight regain post-GLP-1 analogue use by mimicking the incretin hormone to suppress appetite and regulate blood sugar, thus aiding in the management of obesity and diabetes.


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