SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Korea Bizwire) – Domestic pharmaceutical firms have started to release sensitive information that may play to their disadvantage, mainly in order to eliminate any misunderstanding or speculation by not disclosing information in advance.
The move is also driven by the recent Hanmi Pharmaceutical controversy, in which the company allegedly leaked insider information prior to a public announcement that it was canceling its lung cancer drug deal with Boehringer Ingelheim, resulting in a sharp drop of its share price.
Four pharmaceutical companies – Hanmi, Yuhan, Green Cross, and Korea United Pharm – were among the firms that disclosed what could be critical information, such as the termination of overseas contracts, or postponing clinical trials, over the past month. Only information released by Korea United Pharm was legally subject to disclosure.
Hanmi announced early October 28, prior to market opening, that the phase 3 clinical trial for efpeglenatide, a new diabetes drug it exported to Sanofi, was postponed to next year. The trial had been scheduled for Q4 2016, an official said.
The decision to announce the information came with Sanofi expecting to report on the progress of Hanmi’s new drug, which was scheduled for the same day.
Yuhan announced on October 27 that it had halted clinical trials for its degenerative disc disease drug through a voluntary disclosure. The development of the new drug, which first began in 2009, came to a full stop after it failed to prove statistical significance relative to placebo effects in its phase 2 trial, the company said.
“The matter was not subject to a regulatory filing, so we did consider a separate press release, but we ultimately decided on a voluntary disclosure,” said an official. “We took into consideration various factors, including the overall industry atmosphere.”
Green Cross revealed on October 13 that it was halting clinical trials of GreenGene F, a hemophilia medicine, while Korea United Pharm disclosed on October 12 that the supply contract for its antithrombotics drug Cilostan CR Tab had been terminated.
According to industry watchers, such bold initiative to disclose non-obligatory, but sensitive, information is seen as a positive change, allowing investors to better understand the frequent setbacks faced by pharmaceutical companies.
However, at the same time, there is also criticism that such setbacks were overlooked in the past, when disadvantageous information was kept from the public.
“Transparent disclosure of information will help pharmaceutical companies recover investor trust,” said an official from the Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. “It will also help raise public awareness and understanding of the industry as a whole.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)