As trials of anti-viral drugs is shaping up, the center has now shifted its focus on ensuring that Remdesivir, Gilead’s repurposed Ebola drug will be available in India.
Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical companies have commenced trials to manufacture the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, which is effective against coronavirus. Gilead Company has patent rights to this drug until 2035 and clinical trials are already underway on the efficacy of Remedisivir on corona virus. Gilead gave the brand name “Veklury” to the drug.
Now pharma companies such as Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories of Hyderabad, Natco Pharma and Laurus Labs have expressed interest to manufacture the generic version. Industry sources say that these companies are competing hard to obtain a manufacturing license from Gilead Sciences. Laurus Labs and Natco Pharma already have a tie up with Gilead. Two other companies Cipla and Glenmark too are vying for it.
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already gave an emergency approval to the drug for its trials on coronavirus infected patients. This has piqued Indian administration’s interest too in starting trials on patients here. “Our clinical researchers can use Remdesivir on patients on compassionate grounds. Nevertheless, the drug should be available. It is a patented drug and we perceive it is complex to manufacture as well,” said a senior government official.
As for Remdesivir, Gilead need to transfer the technology to make the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in India, consequently the formulation, which is an injectable can be prepared. Gilead declared that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) trial had reported that remdesivir alleviated the disease in patients and helped them recover quick.
Officials of all three aforementioned firms, along with other pharma companies including Jubilant Life Sciences and Hetero Pharma, attended the meeting helmed by health ministry joint secretary Sudhanshu Pant.
On the flip side, the Indian government is also racing towards starting trials on blood poisoning drug sepsivac, which looks promising in the cure.