FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY, AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY/File Photo

Indian pharma companies are gearing up to become global suppliers of repurposed Covid-19 drugs.

With the launch of new innovative Covid-19 oral drugs, Indian companies are again expected to grab opportunities in the global supply of oral Covid-19 drugs, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

As several countries witness increasing cases of Covid-19 despite vaccination, they have started booking supply orders for innovative Covid-19 treatments like antibody cocktails, monoclonal antibodies and the latest addition such Merck’s the oral Covid-19 drug ‘molnupiravir’.

Prashant Khadayate, pharma analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Oral treatment for Covid-19 would be the most convenient option for the patients ranging from mild to moderate Covid-19 and would not require a hospital setting. Currently, a majority of the Covid-19 treatments require a hospital setting.”

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, the UK is the first country to approve molnupiravir which is in pre-registration stage in the US, EU and Japan.

Additionally, Pfizer submitted the emergency authorisation application of its Covid-19 drug ‘paxlovid’ to the US regulator on 16 November 2021.

Globally in 2022, paxlovid and molnupriavir are forecast to register sales of US$7.5bn and US$8bn respectively.

Merck has already established partnerships with five Indian companies — Cipla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs and Sun Pharma — to supply molnupiravir to India and more than 100 low- and middle-income countries.

Similarly, Pfizer has established partnership with Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to manufacture generic versions of paxlovid to 95 low- and middle-income countries.

Khadayate concludes: “Indian generic players are popular globally to supply quality generic drugs. Moreover, Indian players have manufacturing facilities accredited by the World Health Organization and leading regulatory agencies. Based on this, Indian generic players are always preferred partners.

“In addition, Pfizer would also like to partner with the Indian players to supply paxlovid. Therefore, Indian players should be prepared to capture potential opportunities within the oral Covid-19 treatment and should be ready to supply oral COVID-19 drugs on a fast-track basis.”

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