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Seven companies to make cheaper generic versions of anti-AIDS drugs

The Hindu BusinessLine:  July 18, 2014

Mumbai: The UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has entered into an agreement with seven drug-makers for manufacturing two anti-AIDS medicines.

Coming three days before the 20th International AIDS conference in Melbourne, the companies include India-based Cipla, Emcure, Aurobindo, Micro Labs and multinational Mylan’s India subsidiary.

As part of the sub-licensing agreement, these companies will be allowed to make less expensive generic versions of the HIV medicines atazanavir and dolutegravir.

“With licences signed today, four new manufacturers are joining us to speed the availability of crucial medicines, atazanavir and dolutegravir, to developing countries. This almost doubles our network of generic partners to 10 companies,” said Greg Perry, MPP Executive Director. “Increased generic competition will ultimately bring prices down and increase availability to allow national treatment programmes to treat many more people in their countries.” MPP’s role is in negotiating the licences with innovators to pool their patents and facilitate access to these drugs to developing countries at lower prices.

In the past, the MPP signed agreements with Bristol Myers-Squibb, Gilead Sciences, F Hoffmann-La Roche, the US National Institutes of Health and ViiV Healthcare for eight anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and one medicine for an HIV opportunistic infection.

Sun licences

In December, the MPP had signed an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb for a licence on atazanavir, a World Health Organization (WHO)-preferred second-line therapy. Subsequently, it signed its first sub-licence with a Chinese generic firm, Desano, a Shanghai-based supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The MPP also forged an alliance with Hyderabad-based Aurobindo and Pune-based Emcure, manufacturers of generic anti-AIDS medicines, for the production of low-cost atazanavir.

Increasing access to the second-line treatment for HIV is crucial as more people living with HIV develop resistance to first-line regimens.

The WHO estimates there will be more than one million on second-line treatment by 2016. Three months after MPP signed agreements with ViiV Healthcare on new antiretroviral dolutegravir, the organisation signed four sub-licences for manufacturing generic versions of the product for both adult and paediatric care.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.