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Dr Reddy's signs licensing pact with Eli Lilly to produce COVID-19 treatment drug Baricitinib

The Hyderabad-based company has entered into a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Eli Lilly for the manufacture and marketing of the drug in India.

May 11, 2021 / 11:21 PM IST
The drug Baricitinib has received restricted emergency use approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation for COVID-19 treatment.

The drug Baricitinib has received restricted emergency use approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation for COVID-19 treatment.

Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy's Laboratories on May 11 inked a licensing pact with Eli Lilly and Company to produce Baricitinib in the country for treatment of COVID-19.

The drugmaker said that it has entered into a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Eli Lilly for the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug in India.

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"The drug Baricitinib has received restricted emergency use approval from 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)," Dr Reddy said in a press release.

Dr Reddy's added that this partnership comes at a critical juncture in the fight against the pandemic in India. The drug will add to the company's existing range of COVID-19 therapeutics covering the full spectrum from mild to moderate and severe conditions of the disease, and a vaccine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Earlier on May 10, Eli Lilly had announced voluntary licensing agreements with Sun Pharma, Cipla and Lupin to expedite availability of its arthritis drug Baricitinib for treatment of COVID-19 patients in India.

"From the start, we have been determined to explore every possible avenue against COVID-19. Our collaboration with Lilly will help us make yet another treatment option available to patients in India," Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO (API and Services) Deepak Sapra said.
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