Researchers at the TU/e have found a cheaper way to make an expensive cancer drug. Former bachelor student Daphne van Scheppingen discovered the method in 2011, but now a collaboration has been started between researchers from TU/e, Syncom B.V. and the Antoni van Leeuwenhoekzhuis, to produce the cancer drug Z-Endoxifen.
The bachelor’s student and her project supervisor Dr Lech-Gustav Milroy discovered that an expensive purification method (HPLC) was not necessary and that Z-Endoxifen could also be purified by a much cheaper process. The Groningen company Syncom then went on to improve this production method, so that the medicine can also be made in a large quantity. Finally, researchers from the Antoni van Leeuwenhoekzhuis proved that this approach indeed yielded pure Z-endoxifen and that the alternative cleaning method is effective. The drug still costs about 75,000 euros per gram, but with the new production process, the production costs can be a thousand times lower. Medical research groups no longer have to go to expensive producers to do research into the effects of the drug; the simplified process means that they can now produce it themselves in a much cheaper way.
Before the drug is available to patients, the new production method must be further scaled up to industrial production. The researchers expect that this will take about a year of research. More research is also needed into the effect of the drug, which can last between one and six years.
Photo: Bart van Overbeeke
Innovation Origins is an independent news platform that has an unconventional revenue model. We are sponsored by companies that support our mission: to spread the story of innovation. Read more.
At Innovation Origins, you can always read our articles for free. We want to keep it that way. Have you enjoyed our articles so much that you want support our mission? Then use the button below: