July 7, 2020 / 2:29 PM / a month ago

India's Sovereign Pharma dispatches first batch of remdesivir to Cipla

BENGALURU, July 7 (Reuters) - India's Sovereign Pharma said it has dispatched the first batch of generic remdesivir for drugmaker Cipla Ltd, as the country recorded more than 22,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

At current capacity, Sovereign can supply 50,000 to 95,000 vials per month of the injectable, the company said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. It did not disclose how many vials are there in the batch for Cipla.

Privately held Sovereign Pharma is manufacturing and packaging Cipla's remdesivir version.

Cipla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Gilead Sciences Inc's remdesivir is in high demand for the treatment of COVID-19 after the intravenously administered medicine helped to shorten hospital recovery times in a clinical trial but there has been concerns over its supply.

Gilead has signed licensing deals with several generic drugmakers, including Cipla, in an effort to make remdesivir available in 127 developing countries.

Cipla launched its generic version of remdesivir, Cipremi, last month and said it would price a 100 mg vial at less than 5,000 rupees ($66.85).

Privately held Hetero Labs Ltd and drugmaker Mylan NV have also got regulatory approval in India for their generic versions of remdesivir.

Hetero will price its version, Covifor, at 5,400 rupees per 100 mg vial, while Mylan will price Desrem at 4,800 rupees. Hetero has said it will supply 20,000 vials of the drug to hospitals in India.

The country reported 467 new deaths on Tuesday, taking the toll to 20,160. It also recorded 22,252 new infections, increasing the total to 719,665. India on Monday overtook Russia as the third most-affected country globally, behind the United States and Brazil.

($1 = 74.7966 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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