CSIR-IICT has decided to work on three promising compounds namely Remidesivir, Favipiravir and Baloxavir.
In a voluntary initiative, pharma major Cipla has come forward to manufacture anti-viral drugs, which could be effective for Covid-19, through a partnership with CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT). CSIR-IICT has decided to work on three promising compounds namely Remidesivir, Favipiravir and Baloxavir. It would take about six to 10 weeks to make two of the compounds of 100 gms each at the lab scale.
“Scientists throughout the world are working towards developing new drugs for containment of Covid-19. The research on anti-viral drugs has been going throughout the world since long. Many companies have developed molecules having anti-viral properties. But due to lack of demand, these molecules were not widely marketed,’’ Dr SChandrasekhar, director, CSIR-IICT, told FE.
“IICT has taken up the task to develop active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for the drug. When they are developed, it would be handed over to Cipla, which would then manufacture the drugs based on the knowhow given by IICT. Dr YK Hamied, chairman, Cipla, has requested to start work on these molecules on an immediate basis,’’ he said.
It is learnt that Cipla will follow it up with bioequivalence tests on dogs and human trials before approaching the regulatory authority for manufacturing the drug which is claimed to cure coronavirus. However, Cipla did not respond to queries on the investment details or the timing to market the drug. Earlier, Cipla and IICT had joined hands to make drugs for AIDS, cancer, etc.
According to Chandrasekhar and principal scientist Prathama S Manikar, Cipla chairman has requested them to manufacture three compounds — Favipiravir, Remidesivir and Bolaxivir — and Cipla would look after formulation and bio equivalence studies and mass production of the drugs.
“Anti-viral drugs may work. The need of the hour is that there has to be an API stock to make the drug. While CSIR-IICT will synthesise in lab scale of 100 gms, Cipla will upscale and manufacture the drug,” he said. “Clinical trials have been either done or under progress on Favipiravir and Remidesivir. It would take around 4-6 months to make them, but we will also start making Bolaxavir now,” Chandrasekhar said. Besides, IICT is ready to supply Reverse Transcriptase, an enzyme used for Covid 19 testing kits with 40,000 units. This could help ease managing the shortage of kits once primer is procured by diagnostic labs.