March 25, 2019

Hanmi Pharma halts development of lung cancer therapy Olita

PUBLISHED : April 13, 2018 - 13:43

UPDATED : April 13, 2018 - 13:43

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[THE INVESTOR] Hanmi Pharmaceutical said on April 13 that it is abandoning the development of Olita, its new lung cancer treatment, as a rival drug has already hit the markets.

“We found it difficult to find participants for our clinical studies because there is a medication that has already completed global phase 3 trials and is covered by insurance,” Hanmi said in a statement, explaining why it has scrapped its last stage trials. 

The medication Tagrisso was developed by AstraZeneca and is being sold in 40 countries.

Olita, a non-small cell therapy, has been quickly losing steam as a would-be cash cow for the Korean drug maker due to the slow progress of clinical trials and consecutive licensing deal cancellations by its global partners. Olita was approved for sale in Korea in 2016 on condition that it submits its phase 3 clinical trials data at a later date.

“We decided to end developing the drug since we are certain that R&D costs would eclipse its value,” the company said.

The oncology drug faced its first major stumbling block in September 2016 when Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim handed back its rights to the therapy which it licensed from Hanmi for US$730 million deal.

On March 30, China’s ZAI Lab also returned its license of Olita to the Korean developer, citing problems in clinical studies. Hanmi said it would make investments for its pipeline of 20 drug candidates with the fund initially earmarked for Olita.

By Park Han-na (

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