US Pharma major, Gilead Sciences said that it is in talks with some of the world’s leading chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies including in India to produce the patented antiviral drug “remdesivir”.
Gilead Sciences is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
Earlier, Remdesivir was tested by Gilead for ebola and now shown some potential therapy for patients infected with the novel coronavirus. However, patient groups have claimed that the model is problematic and this might stop the access of the model for patients in other countries.
But some countries like the US have given emergency approval to use the drug for their critical COVID-19 patients.
To accelerate and maximize access to the drug Gilead is negotiating “long-term voluntary licenses with several generic drugmakers in India and Pakistan” to produce it for developing countries. A voluntary license is where a generics drug manufacturer is permitted by the patent holder to make a drug.
The discussion is taking place to produce remdesivir for Europe, Asia, and the developing world through at least 2022.
“Gilead Sciences will provide appropriate technology transfers to facilitate this production,” the firm added.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), during a pandemic, local manufacturers can start production of a patented drug under certain conditions.
“Such drugs can be generically manufactured after paying a royalty amount to the patent holder. There are certain provisions during a pandemic that can be Sciences made use of to manufacture the drug if required,” Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar, head, department of epidemiology and communicable disease, ICMR, had said in one of the media briefings.
However, it remains unclear that at what stage the talks between Gilead and Indian generic firms are at, and which particular firms are under the agreement.
According to the industry sources, companies involved in these discussions include Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) and Cipla Ltd. Sciences A DRL spokesperson claimed that the company does not promote market speculations, while Cipla declined to comment “at this point in time”.
In these difficult times, a patented antiviral drug is the need of the situation.