Indian-based pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila has signed a non-exclusive, royalty-free agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a UN-backed organisation in Switzerland, for the generic production of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s daclatasvir to treat Hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

Daclatasvir is a direct-acting antiviral (DAA) that is used to treat patients affected with multiple genotypes of the HCV.

Under the agreement, Zydus Cadila gains a sub-licence to manufacture, as well as sell daclatasvir in 112 low and middle-income countries.

Zydus Group chairman and managing director Pankaj R. Patel said: "We are committed to delivering better therapy outcomes and improving the quality of life of people.

"We are happy to work together with the Medicines Patent Pool and Bristol-Myers Squibb to serve the cause of healthcare by providing access to new and affordable therapies to the economically disadvantaged communities across the developing countries."

"We are committed to delivering better therapy outcomes and improving the quality of life of people."

The MPP licence enables generic manufacturers to produce fixed-dose combinations that can have the ability to treat all of the six major genotypes of HCV.

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When combined with other DAAs such as sofosbuvir, daclatasvir gains the potential to produce high cure rates after 12 weeks of treatment.

The recent Phase III studies have revealed that the regimen can cure up to 100% of HCV patients based on the genotype and the stage of liver disease.

Zydus Group specialty division Zydus Heptiza already has a portfolio of several brands for the treatment of hepatitis B and C with an access to about 80% of the Hepatologists and Gastroenterologists across India.

Image: Electron micrographs of hepatitis C virus purified from cell culture. Photo: courtesy of the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C, The Rockefeller University / Charles Rice.