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BW Businessworld

Gilead Gives Licence To Generics

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Call it a move to tackle generic competitors. US-based Gilead Sciences licensed its three under-development HIV/AIDS drugs to four Indian generic firms — Hetero Drugs, Matrix Laboratories, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab. The 12 July deal is an extension of a similar accord Gilead entered with 11 Indian drug-makers in 2006 and 2007. The firms also get non-exclusive rights to produce and sell generic versions of Gilead's HIV drugs Viread and Truvada in 95 developing countries. They will also have future rights to manufacture and market generic versions of Gilead's new AIDS drugs under development — Elvitegravir, Cobicistat and Quad. The licencees can charge their own price, but will have to pay a 5 per cent royalty on sales of the finished product.

Gilead, with $8 billion turnover, controls over 50 per cent of the HIV/AIDS drugs market globally, with 80 per cent of its revenue coming from sale of such patented drugs. Indian generic firms supply the lion's share of low-cost generics AIDS drugs globally. "It will benefit 34 million patients (from 1.6 million now) in the developing world," Gregg H. Alton, Gilead's executive vice-president for corporate and medical affairs told Businessworld. But some experts feel the deal is a move to secure good sales of drugs that may not get exclusive patent rights in many countries, and are threatened by generic competition.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 25-07-2011)