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VM501 is a re-engineered form of interleukin 11 (IL-11) targeting chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia (CIT). Recombinant IL-11 protein is the only FDA-approved drug for the disease, which was developed as Neumega by the Genetics Institute. However, due to the modest therapeutic activity and severe side effects, its use is limited. In contrast, VM501 is more effective in low dosage and shows less toxicity compared to Neumega.
In phase I and II clinical trials conducted in China, VM501 showed significant therapeutic effects without severe adverse effects.
Product code Target disease Target market Development status
VM501 Chemotherapy induced thrombocytopenia China Ongoing Phase III
Target Disease
Chemotherapy is one of the most common causes of decreased platelet numbers in blood. Generally, when a cancer patient receives intensive chemotherapy, the numbers of red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC), and platelets are considerably reduced, resulting in anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia, respectively. Anemia and neutropenia are treated with well-known drugs EPO and G-CSF, respectively. In the case of thrombocytopenia, platelet transfusion is mostly used due to lack of effective therapeutic drug. Platelet transfusion is an alternative treatment method, but has various limitations such as high cost, unresponsiveness, immune response, and infection. There is an increasing need for new and effective drugs for thrombocytopenia. Therefore, platelet transfusion may be replaced by new drugs such as VM501.
Target Market
In 2006, the chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia market was worth US$1.5 billion, while the total thrombocytopenia market was worth US$2.5~4.5 billion. The Chinese market for recombinant IL-11 was about US$150 million in 2012. With an annual growth rate of about 38.6%, the market is expected to grow to about US$300 million in 2014.