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Poppy research creates new cough suppressant supply

Copyright: Carol Walker

A new variety of poppy containing a larger amount of the cough suppressant and potential anti-cancer agent noscapine has been bred, thanks to a BBSRC-funded research collaboration between the University of York and GlaxoSmithKline.

Data breakout

80% of global noscapine supply comes from the new poppy variety
25% Reduction in noscapine production cost over 3 years, as a result of the research
£1.2M BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award for the research
2015 Year research published in leading journal Science

These poppies provided an estimated 80% of global noscapine supply for cough suppressants in 2017-18. Because of the higher quantity of noscapine in the new poppy variety, extraction is simpler and cheaper, with the result that more companies are beginning to including noscapine in their cough medicines.

Noscapine is beneficial as a cough suppressant because it is effective and has low toxicity. It is also in phase II clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent.

Read the full impact evidence report:

Poppy research creates new cough suppressant supply (PDF 934KB)

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