Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited has become the first Bangladeshi company to get permission to produce "molnupiravir," an oral drug for the treatment of Covid-19.
The United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) granted a sub-license to Beximco Pharma for the local production of the oral drug originally developed by MSD, a trade name of Merck and Co Inc.
The partnership with Beximco was announced after the MPP expanded its network of partnered generic manufacturers, said a press release on Thursday.
The sub-license agreement is a result of the voluntary licensing agreement signed by the MPP and MSD in October 2021 to facilitate affordable global access for molnupiravir, which MSD is developing in partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
Under this agreement, MPP may sub-license the production of the drug to global generic drug manufacturers to ensure a steady supply in different regions of the world.
Molnupiravir is an oral antiviral to treat symptomatic Covid-19, which received conditional marketing authorisation in the UK from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency on 4 November and received emergency use authorisation in the US from the US Food and Drug Administration on 23 December last year.
Beximco Pharma will manufacture molnupiravir in Bangladesh and is expected to start domestic distribution and export from the end of 2022, following successful technology transfer and manufacturing regulatory approvals under the license from MPP.
The company will continue to sell its own generic version of molnupiravir (Emorivir), as announced on 9 November 2021, under the World Trade Organization's Least Developed Country (LDC) waiver in the meantime.