The partnership is in line with Roche and Cipla’s efforts to improve healthcare and increase access to innovative, life-changing medicines in India, particularly to patients who currently do not have access to them.
Rivals in the past, Swiss drug maker Roche Pharma and India’s third-largest drug maker have combined to promote and distribute tocilizumab (Actemra) and Syndyma, the 2nd brand of Roche’s cancer therapy, bevacizumab (Avastin) in India.
In a joint statement, the company said this partnership is in line with Roche and Cipla’s efforts to improve healthcare and increase access to innovative, life-changing medicines in India, particularly to patients who currently do not have access to them.
Lara Bezerra, Managing Director, Roche Pharma India said, “We believe that everyone who needs our medicines should be able to access and benefit from them. This partnership will significantly advance our efforts to expand the reach of, and improve access to, our innovative medicines.”
Roche said this partnership will also help us to cater to Indian Patients by bringing new, transformative medicines to them. The company said it we will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders to help transform healthcare in India.
Bevacizumab is a recombinant humanised monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to and neutralises the biologic activity of human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Various clinical trials have proven its efficacy and safety in different solid tumours and are approved by regulators worldwide for certain type of a brain tumour, cancers of the kidney, lung, colon and rectum and certain types of gynaecological cancers viz. ovarian cancer and cervical cancers. It is usually given as part of a combination of cancer medicines.
Actemra(tocilizumab Injection) is a recombinant humanized anti-interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor monoclonal antibody. This IL-6 protein is believed to play an important role in RA. Studies have shown the drugs work in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
For Roche the entry of biosimilar drugs or the high end copy versions of its biologic drugs has eaten into its revenues. However India with its vast disease profile continues to be an important market for the company. For Cipla that had built its business by challenging the patents of multinational companies, the new business strategy is to adopt more of a collaborative effort with its past rivals. A few years back Cipla also entered into a voluntary license agreement with US drugmaker Gilead to market its Hepatitis C drugs.