Scotland-based speciality pharmaceuticals group ProStrakan is celebrating the US launch of Sancuso, its transdermal patch for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

The company says that the launch of Sancuso (granisetron), the world’s first licensed transdermal 5HT3 receptor antagonist, “follows a week-long induction and training programme for its 67-strong US sales force. The sessions were set up in collaboration with Quintiles unit NovaQuest.

The sales force is now promoting Sancuso oncologists and oncology nurses across the USA having received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in September. ProStrakan chief executive Wilson Totten, said that with peak sales potential of more than $100 million, Sancuso is being launched into a market worth $1.3 billion “and is the first of a number of products that we plan to launch in the USA over the next two years.”

Sancuso is delivered into the bloodstream for up to seven days and has been shown to be as efficacious as oral granisetron in preventing the side effects of nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy. One of the patch’s major selling points is that it eradicates the need for injections “or having to swallow multiple pills on a repeated daily basis”, ProStrakan says, “which is often not possible in cancer patients due to oral mucositis or tumour-related problems”.

ProStrakan, which hopes to turn a profit in 2009, signed up JapanBridge earlier this year to commercialise Sancuso in several nations throughout South-East Asia. In return it will receive more than $26 million in upfront and milestone payments.