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Oral Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (O.G.C.S.F)

Target therapy for: Cancer-related white blood cell deficiency

Estimated size of market 2003: US$2.6bn

Rationale: The oral delivery of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF or GMCSF) could supplement injected and/or intravenous GCSF products currently on market, and expand the market through greater patient compliance and acceptance. Additionally there is potential for reduced cost associated with ease of use and possible administration in non-clinical settings.

Background: G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) and GM-CSF (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor) are growth factors that encourage the bone marrow to produce white blood cells. White blood cells are essential for fighting infection in the body. Growth factors are special proteins that the body produces naturally. However they can also be produced in a laboratory.

The stimulation of white blood cells to fight infection plays an important role in the treatment of many diseases including illness associated with the treatment of cancer.

For example, a side-effect in treating cancer with chemotherapy drugs is the reduction in white blood cells which makes the patient more susceptible to serious infection. This low white blood cell count can cause interruption to the chemotherapy treatment process.

The administration of growth factors can stimulate bone marrow to produce more new white blood cells and restore the body?s balance to fight off infections.

Growth factors can also be used before chemotherapy to encourage the bone marrow to make more stem cells. The extra stem cells can be harvested and administered back to the patient post chemotherapy to assist in the production of blood cells by the bone marrow.

Growth factors made in a laboratory are currently injected subcutaneously usually just after the chemotherapy treatment commences, continuing for around 14 days.

Stage of development: Preparing for pre-clinical studies.