Korea United Pharm (KUP), a South Korean pharmaceutical company, has recently announced a plan to develop an ‘inhaled COVID-19 treatment,’ according to Korea Biomedical Review (KBR).

Other Korean drug companies have excessively promoted their investigational COVID vaccines and treatments through press releases, but KUP remained relatively quiet about its drug development.

The company has successfully developed incrementally modified drugs (IMDs), whereas other companies have been focusing on developing generic medicines.

Kang Duk-Young, President and Co-CEO of KUP, said at a group interview with health journalists, “As a pharmaceutical company that makes drugs directly affecting Korean people’s health, we will walk on the right path with unwavering faith.”

In the interview, he also talked about the company’s performance last year and shared business strategies for 2022.

Duk-Young said, “Knowing how long it takes to develop a new drug and how risky it is to predict its success, I could not talk about hope to shareholders hastily.”

Some experts may exaggerate the KUP’s experimental COVID drug or vaccine development plans to make money, which could create victims. So, he said, “Knowing this risk, I don’t want to lie.”

Within the first half of the year, KUP aims to commercialize an inhaled COVID-19 treatment, called UI030.

UI030 is a combination of budesonide and arformoterol – the drugs that show antiviral and immunity control effects.

Budesonide is used as oral inhalation for the prevention of difficulty breathing, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing caused by asthma. It is used in adults and children aged 6 years and above.

Arformoterol inhalation is also used to control wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, and chest tightness caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPDs). It is a long-acting beta-agonist that works by relaxing and opening airways in the lungs, making breathing easier.

Earlier this year, KUP confirmed the safety and efficacy of the experimental inhaled COVID-19 drug in a phase 1 study. And in the phase 2 study, the company is expected to evaluate the safety and efficacy of UI030 in moderate and severe COVID-19 patients. The company hopes that UI030 could become the first inhaled CPOVID-19 drug that can be taken at home.

Duk-Young said, “Side effects of UI030 ingredients have already been reviewed. If the drug is commercialized, it could reduce the risk of disease progression to severe cases and become the essential treatment for Covid-19 patients treating themselves at home.”

He also said that the company will identify unmet medical needs and continued to develop and release IMDs. “In both local and overseas sales, we will expand our portfolios of IMDs,” he said.

Duk-Young picked the company’s blockbuster drug Atmeg Combigel, which recorded over 1 billion won monthly sales after the market release. Available in soft capsules, Atmeg Combigel is Korea’s first compound-mixed dyslipidemia medicine, which contains omega-3 soft and atorvastatin.