Noida-based Jubilant to make COVID-19 drug Remdesivir in India
Noida-based Jubilant Life Sciences has announced a licensing agreement with Gilead to make Remdesivir, a drug that has shown promise in treating COVID-19, in India. The move, announced a few hours ago, makes Jubilant the first Indian company to have partnered with the US-based biotech giant to source the experimental medicine needed to help health workers fight the ongoing pandemic. Here's more.
Non-exclusive license to manufacture, sell Remdesivir
As per reports, Jubilant Life Sciences' subsidiary Jubilant Generics Limited has signed a non-exclusive deal with Gilead to manufacture and sell Remdesivir in 127 countries, including India. The agreement entitles Jubilant Generics to receive Gilead's formula for the drug as well as its manufacturing process technology to scale up its production for fast-tracked delivery to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
However, delivery will depend on trials, regulatory approvals
While the move is significant, it must be noted that drug delivery would depend on clinical trials and regulatory approvals from the countries in question. "We will be monitoring the clinical trials and regulatory approvals very closely and would be ready to launch the drug shortly after the required regulatory approvals," said Shyam Bhartia and Hari Bhartia, Jubilant's Co-Chairman and Managing Director.
Drug's active pharmaceutical agent to be produced in-house
The duo added that the company also plans to produce the drug's Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) in-house to keep its cost on the lower side and ensure consistent availability. According to the company, "These  countries consist of nearly all low-income and lower-middle-income countries, as well as several upper-middle and high-income countries that face significant obstacles to health-care access."
Remdesivir is not yet approved in India
As of now, Remdesivir is not approved for use in India and is just one of the many potential therapies being tested by the country to treat COVID-19. Notably, US-based trials of the drug did show promising results, but our Ministry of Health and Family Welfare later said the study is inconclusive and it is waiting for 'larger evidence' to support the drug's use.
How effective Remdesivir proved in US trials?
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert, Remdesivir had clear cut positive effects in initial trials. It was administered on coronavirus patients, under the guidance of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and was able to help them recover in 11 days, four days sooner than other placebo-involved treatments.