Monday, June 16, 1997
Glaxo Wellcome and its Affymax Research Institute disclosed their
entrance into the thrombopoiesis race last week, publishing in Science the ability
of a synthetic peptide to mimic the specificity and potency of the natural hormone
TPO acts to stimulate the proliferation and maturation of
megakaryocytes, the precursor cells that give rise to platelets, boosting platelet counts.
This function is the basis for developing TPO as a therapeutic in a number of indications,
including peripheral blood progenitor cell (PBPC) transplantation and thrombocytopenia
resulting from chemotherapy. TPO itself has suffered from slow clinical development,
opening some room for the peptide mimic in these indications.