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Eli Lilly inks pact with Natco Pharma for COVID drug baricitinib

Drug firm Eli Lilly on Monday said it has signed a voluntary licensing agreement with Natco Pharma to further expedite the availability of baricitinib for COVID-19 patients in India.

The company has issued an additional royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary license to Natco Pharma and the Hyderabad-based company will be collaborating with Eli Lilly to further accelerate and expand the availability of baricitinib in India during this pandemic.

The move will improve the local treatment options available and will positively impact the lives of people who are currently battling COVID-19 in India, Eli Lilly said in a statement.

Earlier, the company had announced signing of six voluntary license agreements with Cipla, Lupin, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Dr Reddy’s, MSN Laboratories and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.

Eli Lilly and Company has received permission for restricted emergency use by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), for baricitinib to be used in combination with remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalised adults requiring supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly and Company said it continues to engage in active dialogue with the regulatory authorities and government in India to deliver baricitinib donations through the humanitarian aid organisation, Direct Relief, and to donate it’s anti-COVID-19 treatments, including Lilly’s neutralising antibodies.

On the development, Torrent Pharma said the agreement will help ensure wider reach and access of the drug to patients in India and further adds to the company’s efforts in helping patients affected by the pandemic.

“We are pleased to partner and work closely with Lilly to bring this treatment to market. This partnership further strengthens our efforts to help the nation fight the pandemic and provide quality treatment to patients,” Aman Mehta, chief marketing officer for Torrent said.

MSN Group CMD M S N Reddy said, “This collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company is a landmark milestone in India’s fight against COVID-19 and will thus help in increasing the availability and affordability of baricitinib.”

MSN will be launching the product in two strengths — 2 mg and 4mg.

MSN has developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient and the formulation of Baricitinib in its in-house R&D and manufacturing units, the company said in a statement.

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