AstraZeneca enlists SK Chemicals to produce diabetes combo drug Sidapvia

SK Chemicals of Korea has signed a deal with AstraZeneca to manufacture diabetes drug Sidapvia through the rest of the decade, according to a regulatory filing.

Production will take place at SK’s facility in Cheongju, the capital city in North Chungcheong Province. SK also will handle distribution in Korea. Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The deal enhances the partnership the companies formed in 2020 when they combined to develop Sidapvia. AZ first provided active pharmaceutical ingredients and funded research. Later, SK assumed control of product R&D and conducted clinical trials in Korea.

Those efforts helped gain an approval for Sidapvia last month in Korea, the first of its kind worldwide. The drug is a combination of AZ’s SGLT-2 blockbuster Farxiga and DPP-4 inhibitor sitagliptin, which is marketed in the U.S. as Merck's Januvia.

With their differing mechanisms of action, the combo is expected to provide greater glycemic lowering effects than either drug alone, according to the Korean Diabetes Association guidelines. 

Under the deal, AstraZeneca will be responsible for seeking regulatory approvals outside of Korea.

Also in 2020, the companies partnered on a production deal for AZ’s COVID-19 vaccine at SK’s plant in Andong.