: Indian pharma firms Aurobindo, Emcure, Hetero Labs, Laurus Labs, Lupin and Zydus Cadila are among the seven drug makers which have signed licensing pact with UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for producing HIV and hepatitis C drugs.
A total of nine new sub-licensing agreements to produce generic versions of key World Health Organisation-priority HIV and hepatitis C treatments have been signed by MPP with these pharmaceuticals firms and Shanghai-based Desano.
"These new sub-licences will secure greater volumes of low-cost medicines for people living with HIV and hepatitis C in low and middle-income countries," MPP Executive Director Greg Perry said.
MPP looks forward to working with the companies to speed delivery of these treatments to those in need of better medical options, he added.
Aurobindo Pharma has signed two new sub-licences. The first allows it to produce lopinavir and ritonavir for Africa to fight HIV. The company also joins six other firms in the development of Bristol-Myers Squibb's hepatitis C drug daclatasvir, MPP said in an announcement. Emcure has also signed licences for the stated two drugs for HIV.
"LPV/r is a life-line for people living with HIV on the continent who have developed resistance to first-line treatments. Additional, long-term supply is crucial," Emcure head of strategy Vik Thapar said.
Hetero, an MPP generic partner since 2012, signed sub-licences for atazanavir, a second-line antiretroviral licensed to the MPP by BMS in December 2013 and raltegravir for paediatric use, a treatment MPP licensed from MSD (Merck & Co in the United States and Canada) in February 2015. "Hetero, through its partnership with MPP, has demonstrated success in creating larger access for HIV and hepatitis C treatment and now looks forward to supporting efforts to distribute low-cost versions of atazanavir and raltegravir," Hetero Drugs director Bhavesh Shah said.
Laurus and Lupin added to their portfolio MPP-licensed drugs with agreements to produce daclatasvir and paediatric raltegravir, respectively, the statement said.
"Laurus has been working with the MPP for more than four years on HIV and we are happy to support efforts to successfully treat hepatitis C with this promising medicine," Laurus executive director Raju Kalidindi said.