Jubilant Life Sciences to make drug Remdesivir, firm was in news after employees got COVID-19
Jubilant Life Sciences, the pharmaceutical company which incidentally made news after one of its employees in the Mysuru (Nanjangud) facility tested positive for COVID-19 under mysterious circumstances, will now make remdesivir, a drug said to aid in decreasing the viral load in infected individuals.
Remdesivir, an investigational antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences, received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the United State Federal Drug Authority to treat COVID-19. The drug has earlier been used for other infections such as Ebola and hepatitis.
Other than the Nanjangud facility, the company according to its own website has five manufacturing units in India spread across Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Outside India, it has two manufacturing units, one each in the United States and Canada.
In a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, the company said that its subsidiary, Jubilant Generics Limited (“Jubilant”), has entered into a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Ireland-based Gilead Sciences, Inc with regards to this investigational drug. The agreement means that Jubilant can register, manufacture and sell the drug developed by the US company.
With this, Jubilant will also have the right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process to scale up production to enable expedited access of the medicine to Covid-19 patients upon approvals by regulatory authorities in 127 countries including India.
“We are very happy to strengthen our partnership with Gilead to license remdesivir, which, based on initial data, shows promise to be a potential therapy for Covid-19, a pandemic creating unprecedented health and economic crisis globally. 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. We also plan to produce the drug’s Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (‘API’) in-house helping its cost effectiveness and consistent availability,” Shyam S Bhartia, Chairman and Hari S Bhartia, Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Jubilant Life Sciences said in a statement.
The other Indian companies which reached an agreement for this with Gilead are Cipla, Hetero Labs and Mylan.
Till date the source of the infection for the first employee of the pharma company (35-year-old man) remains unknown. From patient zero, 75 other patients (a majority were colleagues) contracted the infection. As a result, the factory has been shut by district authorities.
While the patient has no known travel or contact history, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar in an interview had said the patient had gone to China. But this was debunked by the patient himself in an interview to TNM who had he said that he did not even have a passport.