Boryung Acquires ‘Alimta’ Lung Cancer Treatment from Lilly

Non-small cell lung cancer treatment Alimta 500mg

Boryung (formerly Boryung Pharmaceutical) announced on Oct. 25 that it has signed an asset acquisition agreement for ‘Alimta (API: pemetrexed)’, a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment, with Eli Lilly and Co. The completion of this transaction is subject to customary regulatory reviews and closing conditions.

Through this contract, Boryung will acquire all rights, including copyright and licensing rights, for Alimta in South Korea.

Alimta is Lilly’s original product and is considered a treatment that has led to a paradigm shift in the NSCLC treatment.

Alimta was approved by the U.S. FDA as the first treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2004, while it is the first-line treatment for NSCLC and the first maintenance therapy.

Alimta, introduced in South Korea in 2006, is the first drug that has enabled customized treatment according to histological type and has the efficacy of improving the patient’s quality of life and survival rate by significantly reducing the cytotoxic anti-cancer drug’s adverse effect and toxicity.

Alimta is maintaining the pemetrexed prescription market’s top position with a high market share of 60 percent by recording annual sales of 20 billion won (according to IQVIA) based on its high clinical value as an original drug, despite the patent expiration in 2015. Its sales have recently increased, since the combination therapy of Alimta and MSD’s immuno-oncology drug Keytruda (API: pembrolizumab) has attracted attention as a major option for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-squamous NSCLC.

Through the acquisition of Alimta, Boryung plans to actively utilize the nation’s best anti-cancer drug marketing competitiveness to enhance the business profitability along with the constant growth of the anti-cancer drug sector. The target sales of Alimta in 2023, the first year of the acquisition, is 23 billion won, and Boryung plans to increase both sales and market share according to the following expansion of the treatment options and an increase in the number of patients. 

Alimta is the third product for which Broyung acquired domestic rights from a global pharmaceutical company. Through the legacy brands acquisition strategy with the goal of robust growth with strong earning power, Boryung has been acquiring original drugs that can maintain a certain level of sales scale and market share based on high-brand loyalty even after the patient expiration.

Boryung acquired the domestic rights of the anti-cancer drug Gemzar (API: gemcitabine) in 2020 and the schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa (API: olanzapine) in 2021 from Lilly.