Dr Reddy's Laboratories has entered into a royalty-free, non-exclusive voluntary licencing agreement with US-based pharma major Eli Lilly and Company for the manufacture and sale of the drug, Baricitinib. Baricitinib has received 'restricted emergency use approval' from the health ministry's central drugs standard control organisation for use in combination with Remdesivir for treatment of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients who require supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
Deepak Sapra, Chief Executive Officer, API and Services, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, said: "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." Lilly has also issued licences to Cipla, Lupin, Natco and Sun Pharmaceutical to manufacture and sell the low-cost versions of its new COVID-19 drug Baricitinib in India.
Dr Reddy's has also tied up with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia's sovereign wealth fund that has bankrolled Sputnik V and is in charge of marketing it abroad, for manufacturing and sale of the vaccine in India. Dr Reddy's also managed the clinical trials of Sputnik V in India. The vaccine has received approval from drug regulators in India and the country will start receiving the doses of Sputnik V from May.
As per Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO Deepak Sapra, six manufacturing units have been selected for producing Sputnik V in India. Two of these units will begin vaccine supply by June-July, the other two by August, and the remaining two are expected to begin the supply of the vaccine either by September or October.
It has also collaborated with DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) to develop an anti-Covid drug, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), which has also received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). The drug has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Hyderabad.
INMAS-DRDO scientists had in April 2020, during the COVID-19 first wave, carried out laboratory experiments with the Centre's help for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad. The researchers found that this molecule works effectively against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and impedes viral growth.
Dr Reddy's stock has risen Rs 4.05 or 0.076 per cent to Rs 5,300 on the National Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Meanwhile, India reported 3,48,421 new COVID-19 cases and the highest 4,205 deaths in the last 24 hours, as health ministry data shows.