Case Study: Picato® gel
Picato® is a prescription gel that treats skin actinic keratosis (potentially pre-cancerous sunspots). The journey to develop this product began in the 1970s when Queensland researcher, Dr Jim Aylward, became interested in a local farming story about the healing properties of the sap of the radium weed Euphorbia peplus when applied to sunspots on the skin. In the 1990s, Dr Aylward accelerated his research on the sap, and by 1997 he had teamed up with Professors Peter Parsons and Andreas Suhrbier at QIMR Berghofer, and the journey from basic science to pharmaceutical product began. NHMRC provided research fellowships and other grants to support the pre-clinical research in the Parsons and Suhrbier labs. Both credit NHMRC’s support as a significant contributor, along with other public and private funding sources, to the successful commercial development of Picato® gel. In Australia, Picato® is available as a private script and is also listed on the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. Global sales in 2017 were around US$76m.
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