Vietnamese chemotherapy drug reduces treatment costs by 60 percent

VietNamNet Bridge - Pegfilgrastim, a chemotherapy drug made in Vietnam, is expected to hit the market in 2018.


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Pegfilgrastim is a product of the National Program on High Technology Development by 2020, one of the large-scale science & technology programs implemented by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST).

After nearly three years of research, the product is in the testing phase on humans.

The biotechnology and pharmacy firm Nanogen began researching Peginterferon lambda 1 and Pegfilgrastim in 2014. 

The specialized medication made of peginterferon lambda 1 active element is used in the treatment of hepatitis B and C, while Pegfilgrastim, which boosts white blood cells and supports the immune system, is used in chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.

Nanogen has completed the production procedure of Peginterferon lambda 1. The in vitro and in vivo testing (pre-clinical testing on animals) has also been completed.

The specialized medication made of peginterferon lambda 1 active element is used in the treatment of hepatitis B and C, while Pegfilgrastim, which boosts white blood cells and supports the immune system, is used in chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.

The first phase of the clinical testing on patients has been completed. However, as a new kind of alternative drug has appeared on the market which is more favored than peginterferon lambda 1, Nanogen decided to stop clinical research and focus on drug lines with higher demand.

As for Pegfilgrastim, Nanogen plans to produce 120,000 tubes of the drug (6 mg per tube) which meet European standards. The company has studied and examined the quality of the drug in the laboratory and on animals. Clinical trials have also been conducted for formal production. 

Currently, patients with cancer who are prescribed pegfilgrastim have to buy imported drugs at high prices. If the pegfilgrastim project succeeds, a domestically made product at a much lower cost will be available.

It is estimated that with Vietnam-made pegfilgrastim, patients will save on average 40-60 percent of treatment costs.

Pegfilgrastim is a PEGylated form of the recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (GCSF) analog filgrastim. It stimulates the level of white blood cells and is prescribed by physicians for patients who use chemotherapy for the treatment of acute diseases.

It has the effect of shortening the time of the drop in neutrophil and reducing the rate of fever. This active ingredient is also used to stimulate bone marrow to produce new blood cells. The drug is given by injection under the skin, usually once in each chemotherapy cycle.

Physicians say that the active element must be used 24 hours after receiving chemotherapy.


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Thanh Lich

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