Taborre positive for novel EPO stimulating drug FG-4592

The UCI today announced the provisional suspension for Italian Fabio Taborre (Androni Giocattoli) after he tested positive for a novel banned blood-boosting drug known as FG-4592. The drug was detected in an out-of-competition control on June 16, 2015.

It is the second doping case for the Androni team after Davide Appollonio tested positive for EPO on June 14. Under the new rules that came into effect this year, the second adverse analytical finding triggered an automatic suspension of the team, which can range from 15 to 45 days. "The UCI will refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision in the upcoming days," the UCI announcement stated.

Taborre also personally faces a €100,000 fine by his team should his positive be confirmed.

FG-4592 is a compound that is still in phase 3 clinical trials and has not yet been commercialised. Also known as Roxadustat, the drug was developed jointly by FibroGen and AstraZeneca. Unlike EPO, which directly stimulates the production of red blood cells, FG-4592 is taken orally, and stimulates natural production of EPO in a manner similar to altitude training.

This class of compounds is banned under the WADA code.

Taborre is the second cyclist to test positive for the drug this year. At the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Carlos Oyarzun of Chile was found positive for FG-4592 and kicked out of the competition.

Drug makers are increasingly cooperating with the anti-doping authorities to stay one step ahead of cheaters. The drug companines began creating detection methods for drugs which may enhance performance before the compounds reach the market, because athletes were getting hold of drugs while they were still under development.

Roche collaborated to improve EPO testing to detect its drug CERA, which showed up at the 2008 Tour de France. Glaxo inked a long-term agreement back in 2011, and Pfizer was the most recent company to sign an agreement with WADA in 2014.

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