Industry analysts estimate the market for slow-release EPO at $5 billion per year, with application in the treatment of anemia in patients with kidney failure and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
In June 2000, Dragon acquired rights to a novel and patentable formulation for slow-release EPO by entering into a co-development agreement with Renapharm AB of Sweden and Transworld Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Portugal. This agreement provides Dragon with exclusive worldwide manufacturing rights and exclusive Asian marketing rights, including Japan, to this second generation product.
A pilot clinical trial conducted in 101 patients at the University Hospital, Uppsala University in Sweden, demonstrated that monthly administration of EPO in our slow-release formulation had the same therapeutic effect as four times per week administration of conventional EPO, with the total dose of each form of EPO being identical.
We are currently working with our partners to finalize the formulation for our slow-release product and expect to enter human clinical trials in 2003.