Press Release
20.12.23

Topadur Pharma AG and Juvic Inc. Kick-starts Transnational Collaboration project

Zurich-Schlieren, Switzerland, 20 December 2023

Swiss Topadur Pharma AG, in collaboration with South Korean Juvic Inc. and the research group led by Prof. Hyungil Jung at Yonsei University in Seoul, has launched a project to improve disease management in systemic sclerosis. The project particularly aims to enhance treatment for patients who develop digital ulcers and suffer from Raynaud's phenomenon. Pascal Brenneisen, CEO of Topadur Pharma AG, stated: “We are convinced that this initiative will advance the disease management, thereby improving the quality of life for patients suffering from scleroderma.” Huisuk Yang, CEO of Juvic Inc., stated: “Through international joint research between Switzerland and South Korea, innovative medicines for scleroderma will be developed.”

This important transnational collaboration is supported by both countries. The Swiss Innovation Agency (Innosuisse) and the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) are contributing to the project costs, which amount to approximately 1.2 million USD.

Systemic Sclerosis

Systemic sclerosis is a rare inflammatory rheumatic disease. It is often associated with Raynaud's phenomenon. Raynaud's phenomenon is a vascular disease in which blood vessels periodically constrict (vasospasm), resulting in reduced blood flow to the fingers. Raynaud's phenomenon is associated with episodic pain, numbness, tingling and skin discoloration in the affected fingers. These patients are at high risk of developing finger wounds (digital ulcers), which often heal with difficulty.

Transnational Collaboration Project

In this collaboration project, both companies combine their scientific expertise: Topadur has a clinical-stage drug candidate, TOP-N53, capable of regenerating local blood circulation in patients. Juvic has developed biodegradable microneedles that enable intradermal delivery of the drug. This collaboration brings together profound expertise in drug delivery and development, representing a synergy of international knowledge and skills. For patients suffering from Raynaud's phenomenon, this new therapeutic approach promises a substantial improvement in quality of life. Additionally, its prophylactic use may reduce the risk of digital ulcers.

About TOP-N53

The active ingredient TOP-N53 enhances microcirculation in the tissue and promotes the formation of new blood vessels due to an increase in the important intracellular messenger cGMP, which is believed to be deficient in vascular diseases. TOP-N53 is based on a dual mode of action. It is similar to Sildenafil on one hand, but also releases an important endogenous messenger, nitric oxide, which is reduced in diseases like systemic sclerosis and, together with the first active component, increases cGMP. TOP-N53 was specifically developed for local treatment. In October 2021, TOP-N53 received Orphan Drug Status from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

About Microneedles

Dissolving microneedles are a novel drug delivery system, featuring tiny needles that painlessly penetrate the skin and dissolve to release medication. Composed of biodegradable materials, they eliminate the need for hypodermic needles and offer a minimally invasive approach. As they dissolve, the embedded drugs are released into the targeted tissue, facilitating efficient and controlled administration. This technology enhances patient compliance, reduces discomfort, and improves drug absorption. Dissolving microneedles have immense potential for delivering a wide range of medications, making them particularly promising for applications in vaccines, insulin delivery, and other therapeutic interventions with enhanced precision and convenience.

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