Beximco Pharma has got a sub-licence from the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool to produce a generic version of Paxlovid, Pfizer's oral treatment for Covid.
Beximco will manufacture this drug – a combination of nirmatrelvir and ritonavir – in Bangladesh following successful technology transfer and manufacturing regulatory approvals.
Nirmatrelvir is a novel main protease inhibitor that specifically blocks the activity of the enzyme needed for SARS-CoV2 viral replication.
Ritonavir is a strong cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 inhibitor and pharmacokinetic boosting agent for nirmatrelvir.
Paxlovid got the emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration in December 2021 for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older).
The sub-licence was granted under a voluntary licencing agreement between Pfizer and Medicines Patent Pool to facilitate broader global access to this antiviral combination.
On 20 January 2022, Beximco got a sublicence from Medicines Patent Pool to produce another Covid drug, molnupiravir, which was developed by MSD and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Beximco Pharma Managing Director Nazmul Hassan said: "We are delighted that Medicines Patent Pool has granted us a sub-licence to produce Pfizer's breakthrough Covid-19 treatment, which builds on the licence granted to us in January 2022 for the production of molnupiravir."