Drug major Cipla on Monday said it has inked a pact with US-based Eli Lilly and Company to manufacture and produce baricitinib in the country for the treatment of COVID-19. The Mumbai-based company said it has signed a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Eli Lilly for baricitinib. Baricitinib has already received a restricted emergency use approval by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health, India, for use 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 (ECMO).
This collaboration is a step further in the company's efforts to enhance access to critical treatments for patients affected by the pandemic, Cipla said in a statement.
The company will leverage its extensive distribution footprint to make this therapy accessible to more patients and markets, it added.
“Through the pandemic, Cipla has been at the forefront of COVID care and our partnership with Lilly is a demonstration of our unwavering commitment to care towards patients impacted by COVID-19," Cipla Ltd MD and Global CEO Umang Vohra noted.
Cipla had last year launched a generic version of antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients.
The drug firm had also introduced antibody detection kits for COVID-19 in the country under the brand name 'ELIFast' in partnership with KARWA Ltd, under the technology transfer from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Amid spiralling cases of COVID-19 in the country amid the second wave, drug firms have been collaborating to come out with drugs to treat the highly infectious disease.