GlaxoSmithKline to highlight potential blockbuster cancer drug

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British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline is expected to unveil details of a breakthrough cancer drug this week that could be a potential blockbuster, generating billions of dollars in sales for the company.
According to a report published on the U.K.-based Web site of The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Glaxo will use an upcoming research seminar to present data on a potential treatment for low blood platelet count, which is associated with liver failure and chemotherapy. At the moment, patients suffering from the disease either have to undergo a blood transfusion or have their spleen removed. If Glaxo's product is successful, a tablet could replace those treatments.
The drug called eltrombopag, is still in early stages of development but analysts at Merrill Lynch have estimated it could become a $2.8 billion-a-year best seller. Analysts also said the product could be launched as early as the middle of 2007.
The seminar will mark Glaxo's arrival as a major player in the fast-growing world of cancer medicine. Oncology has previously been a small area for the company with cancer drugs accounting for just 5% of group sales.
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