General information

Product Name
Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (rHuEPO or Epoetin alfa)
Lin et al [1]
Patent holders
Amgen [1]
Area of Application
Health Care
Market Size
7.3 billions (2009) [2]

Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein that regulates erythrocytes production by stimulatingHuman_EPO.jpg proliferation and maturation
of erythrocytes progenitors. In the adult human, EPO is produced in the kidneys. Recombinant Human EPO (rHuEPO or epoetin alfa)
has a single chain with 165 amino acids and a predicted molecular mass around 21 kDa and, when glycosylated, a
molecular mass around 30,4 kDa.
The rHuEPO is produced in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells by recombinatn technology. [3]

History [1]

1836 - Bright recognize that anemia was a complication of kidney disease.

1863 - Jourdanet observe the correlation between altitude and blood viscosity.

1891 - Viault quantified the change in erythrocytes as altitude increased.

1906 - Carnot and Deflandre said that a humoral factor regulated red blood cell production.

1957 - Jacobson et al. demonstrated that the humoral factor, EPO, was produced in the kidneys.

1977 - Miyake et al. achieved the isolation and purification of EPO.

1985 - Lin et al. cloned the gene.

1989 - rHuEPO was approved for human use in patients witch chronic renal failure by the FDA.

Market and Applications

Epoetin alfa can be used in:
Chronic renal failure,
Zidovudine-treated in Hiv infected patients,
Cancer patients on chemotherapy,
Surgery patients,
some types of anemia. [1,3,4]

Epoetin alfa is in the market with different names. In the US, epoetin alfa is marketed and distributed by Amgen as Epogen and by Centocor Ortho Biotech as Procrit. Centocor Ortho Bioteck is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and a distributor of epoetin alfa under Amgen's FDA license. Epogen is commercialized to be used by patients witch chronic renal failure disease and Procrit is marketed for all other approved therapeutic indications of epoetin alfa. In Europe Janssen-Cilag, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson like Centocor Ortho Biotech, markets a epoetin alfa has a similar product called Eprex. [5]

Financial Information

The worldwide sales Erythropoietin compounds represent around half of Amgen's 14.6 billion (USD) revenue in 2009. [2]


2000 units/mL (1dose): $37.46

3000 units/mL (1dose): $48.90

4000 units/mL (1dose): $61.20

10000 units/mL (2doses): $278.48

10000 units/mL (10doses): $1316.51

20000 units/mL (10doses): $2625.20

40000 units/mL (10doses): $5456.14


2000 units/mL (6doses): $191.89

3000 units/mL (6doses): $287.83

4000 units/mL (6doses): $381.61

10000 units/mL (2doses): $309.96

10000 units/mL (6doses): $908.10

20000 units/mL (1doses): $323.10

40000 units/mL (4dose): $2510.83

Pricing: U.S. (more information:


2000 units/mL (6doses) €209.68

4000 units/mL (6doses) €360.64

10000 units/mL (6doses) €802.65

Pricing: Portugal (more information:



Amgen has a patent for a compound - a better version of Epogen - called Aranesp, in witch the active compound is a synthetic EPO called Darbepoetin alfa. Darbepoetin alfa has a longer half-life than epoetin alfa. [6]


1. M. Foote, “Studies of erythropoiesis and the discovery and cloning of recombinant human erythropoietin” Amgen Inc., 2003.
J. Fisher, “Erythropoietin: Physiology and Pharmacology Update”. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1535-3702/03/2281-0001, 2003.

Tiago Dias, 66804.

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