Hyderabad’s IICT, LAXAI Lifesciences tie-up for Covid-19 drugs

Hyderabad, April 24 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) has joined hands with Hyderabad-based integrated pharmaceutical company LAXAI Lifesciences for synthesis of drugs being used in the fight against the Coronavirus, it was announced here on Friday.

The collaboration will primarily focus on Umifenovir, Remdesivir and a key intermediate of Hydroxy Chloroquine (HCQ).

IICT, a Hyderabad-based constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and LAXAI will jointly develop and manufacture Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and intermediates to reduce the dependency of Indian pharmaceutical sector on Chinese imports.

India, one of the largest producers of anti-malarial drug HCQ, has seen a spurt in demand in the recent weeks. It exported HCQ to over 50 countries over the last few days, including the US.

According to the IICT, the collaboration will result in a cost-effective process with minimal dependency on China for key raw materials. In addition, Remdesivir, which has been previously administered to Ebola virus patients, is currently under clinical trials to evaluate efficacy and safety against Covid-19.

The collaboration will use the know-how for commercial manufacturing of the products. LAXAI Lifesciences shall be one of the first few to commercialise these products. The manufacturing of these APIs and intermediates will be taken up at USFDA/GMP approved plants held by LAXAI through its subsidiary, Therapiva Pvt Ltd.

It noted that the outbreak of Covid-19 has exposed the disproportionate reliance of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, third largest in the world by the volume of drugs produced, on the Chinese raw materials.

With the delayed delivery and increased pricing pressure of these raw materials, Indian pharma sector is staring at supply shortages. Realising that drug security and undisrupted access to essential medicines is critical for public health, the Union Cabinet has approved a special package for promotion of bulk drug manufacturing in India and reduction of the country’s dependence on China.

LAXAI Life Sciences, established in 2007 with a vision to accelerate the discovery chemistry campaign of global pharmaceutical companies, has grown into an integrated pharma company with presence in API/formulation development as well as API manufacturing.