Hyderabad: Hyderabad continues to make its mark in the field of finding solutions to tackle Covid-19. High-end contract research and manufacturer of Active Pharmaceutical Intermediaries (APIs) from the city, Avra Laboratories has played a vital role in the soon-to-be-launched Covid-19 drug Ciplenza, the generic version of Favipiravir, by Cipla Laboratories.
Established by noted scientist and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr AV Rama Rao, the Avra Laboratories is currently manufacturing Favipiravir for Cipla Laboratories, which is doing the formulation and marketing part for the drug.
Rao, who was former Director of the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), has had a long association with Dr Yusuf Hamied, chairman of Cipla Pharmaceuticals. A few decades ago, when anti-HIV/AIDS drugs were very expensive and out of reach of the common man, Rao provided the generic option of the drug, which was retailed by Cipla. It fetched global fame for Dr Hamied.
“He (Dr Hamied) called me and urged me to rapidly take up this project, and we followed up on his suggestion. On April 4 he phoned and asked me to manufacture the product quickly and by May 10, we gave the first one kg of the product. The idea was to develop a cheaper drug so that it is available for all,” Rao told ‘Telangana Today’.
The high-end manufacturing facility of Avra Laboratories in Hyderabad has already manufactured two consignments of the product which have been dispatched to Cipla while the third consignment is expected to be dispatched in the coming days. “Cipla is actually doing the formulation and marketing part while at present, we are manufacturing the product. We are hoping that the Covid-19 drug will be available for needy patients at half the price in India,” he said.
According to reports, Cipla is expected to launch the Favipiravir drug by July 31 across the country. The pharma giant has already received the nod from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the Indian drug regulator, to launch the anti-Covid-19 product.
The Favipiravir drug of Cipla can be described as a collaborative effort between the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Avra and Cipla. The CSIR-affiliated Hyderabad-based IICT had developed a cost-effective process using locally available chemicals to synthesise this API and transferred the technology to Cipla.
Avra Laboratories has been granted regulatory approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) to manufacture and market Favipiravir API, which will help patients suffering from Covid-19. The Avra Laboratories has developed an alternative low-cost and highly efficient manufacturing process and is now supplying commercial quantities to Cipla for the launch of Ciplenza, the generic version of Favipiravir.
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