Malaysian pharmaceutical company Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd (Pharmaniaga), Egyptian pharmaceutical company Pharco Pharmaceuticals (Pharco), and non-profit research and development organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) have signed a collaboration agreement to manufacture and supply a new hepatitis C treatment regimen to be sold for US$300 in the public sector in Malaysia.
“It is estimated that there are around 450,000 people living with hepatitis C in Malaysia but most of them have been unable to access effective new hepatitis C treatment because of its very high price,” said Dato’ Farshila Emran, Managing Director of Pharmaniaga. “This agreement enables access to cheaper alternatives for patients in Malaysia, and we are proud to be embarking on this collaboration with DNDi and Pharco that would not have been possible without the Ministry of Health’s support.”
In partnership with the Malaysian Ministry of Health, DNDi is currently running clinical trials testing a potentially pan-genotypic treatment, combining the drug candidate ravidasvir, produced by Egyptian drug manufacturer Pharco Pharmaceuticals, with the existing hepatitis C medicine sofosbuvir. The clinical trial is ongoing in six hospitals and is co-sponsored by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, with initial results expected in early 2018.
“We applaud the Malaysian government in its efforts and commitment to make available affordable access to safe and effective treatments for hepatitis C,” said Jean-Michel Piedagnel, Head of DNDi South-East Asia. “The strategic investment from the Ministry of Health in helping develop a public health approach to the epidemic is remarkable.”
The agreement covers the manufacture and supply of ravidasvir – once approved in Malaysia – and supply of sofosbuvir. A government use licence issued by the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism in September 2017 enables the importation of generic sofosbuvir in order to make this drug available in the public health system throughout the country at affordable prices.
“We hope that our collaboration with Pharmaniaga and DNDi to develop a treatment regimen that costs less than US$1 per day will lead to widespread access to safe, effective, and affordable treatment for hepatitis C patients in Malaysia and around the region,” said Dr Sherine Helmy, CEO of Pharco Pharmaceuticals.
Currently a full 12-week course of treatment is available in Malaysia for around US$70,000. With the combination of generic sofosbuvir and ravidasvir, the cost for the same treatment will be made affordable with an almost 100% decrease in price.
- Pharmaniaga: Dato’ Zuhri Iskandar Kamarzaman firstname.lastname@example.org
- DNDi: email@example.com
- Pharco: Yaser Fayed firstname.lastname@example.org
Pharmaniaga Logistics Sdn Bhd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pharmaniaga Berhad, a member of Boustead Group and an investment holding company listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. Pharmaniaga Group’s core businesses are generic pharmaceuticals manufacturing; research and development; marketing and sales; warehousing and distribution of pharmaceutical and medical products; supply, trading and installation of medical and hospital equipment as well as community pharmacy. With a vision to be the premier Malaysian pharmaceuticals company, Pharmaniaga is guided by its ‘Do It Right’ philosophy and empowered by its Passion for Patients mission. Already operating in 38 sites across three countries (Malaysia, Indonesia & Vietnam) the Pharmaniaga Group is positioned to be a regional player in the international pharmaceuticals arena. www.pharmaniaga.com
Pharco Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is the largest manufacturer of pharmaceuticals in Egypt, focused on research, formulation, manufacturing and commercialization of pharmaceutical products in the MENA region. Today, Pharco employs over 8,000 employees, and has over 650M product sales units—ranking as the leader in the Egyptian pharmaceutical market. Pharco also exports to 47 countries around the world. Pharco works towards one goal…to provide highly effective and safe pharmaceutical products to patients at an affordable price. Pharco licensed ravidasvir hydrochloride, formerly known as (PPI-668), from Presidio Pharmaceuticals, a San Francisco-based clinical stage, specialty pharmaceutical company. www.pharco.org
A not-for-profit research and development organization, DNDi works to deliver new treatments for neglected diseases, in particular leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, Chagas disease, specific filarial infections, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered six treatments: two fixed-dose antimalarials (ASAQ and ASMQ), nifurtimox-eflornithine combination therapy (NECT) for late-stage sleeping sickness, sodium stibogluconate and paromomycin (SSG&PM) combination therapy for visceral leishmaniasis in Africa, a set of combination therapies for visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, and a paediatric dosage form of benznidazole for Chagas disease. DNDi has established regional disease-specific platforms, which bring together partners in disease-endemic countries to strengthen existing clinical research capacity, as well as to build new capacity where necessary. www.dndi.org
Photo credit: Maslim-Husin-DNDi