[Ip-health] FT: AbbVie drops patent rights for Kaletra antiviral treatment

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Mon Mar 23 14:37:33 PDT 2020


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AbbVie is giving up its patents on a combination drug that is being studied
as a coronavirus treatment, becoming the first major drugmaker to drop its
rights to make money from a drug that might be used during the pandemic.

The US drugmaker will no longer enforce patents relating to Kaletra
anywhere in the world for all formulations, according to the Medicines
Patent Pool, a UN-backed non-governmental organisation.

The company gave notice of the change last week, according to a document
seen by the Financial Times, after Israel moved to issue a compulsory
licence for the drug combination’s use against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus
that is spreading worldwide.

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https://www.ft.com/content/5a7a9658-6d1f-11ea-89df-41bea055720b

AbbVie drops patent rights for Kaletra antiviral treatment
Combination drug is being studied in several trials as a coronavirus
treatment

Donato Paolo Mancini in London and Hannah Kuchler in New York 18 MINUTES
AGOPrint this page0

AbbVie is giving up its patents on a combination drug that is being studied
as a coronavirus treatment, becoming the first major drugmaker to drop its
rights to make money from a drug that might be used during the pandemic.

The US drugmaker will no longer enforce patents relating to Kaletra
anywhere in the world for all formulations, according to the Medicines
Patent Pool, a UN-backed non-governmental organisation.

The company gave notice of the change last week, according to a document
seen by the Financial Times, after Israel moved to issue a compulsory
licence for the drug combination’s use against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus
that is spreading worldwide.

Kaletra is a combination of two antivirals — lopinavir and ritonavir — and
is usually used to treat HIV. But some doctors have turned to it for
treating patients with coronavirus, and its efficacy is being studied in
several clinical trials, including one by the World Health Organization.

Stat News, a trade publication, reported last week that the company would
allow Israel to purchase generic versions of the drug. AbbVie declined to
comment.

The company had already donated a supply to the Chinese health authorities
in January.

What AbbVie has chosen to do “isn’t terribly common, certainly not
globally”, said Ellen ‘t Hoen, director of Medicines Law & Policy, a
non-governmental organisation. Kaletra has patent protection until at least
2026 in certain territories, according to MedsPaL, a database.

The pandemic has caused 12,000 deaths so far and infected nearly 300,000.
There are no approved treatments.

A Chinese study of Kaletra, which was published in the New England Journal
of Medicine last week, showed disappointing results, with no effect on the
progression of the disease.

But for patients who started the drugs less than 12 days after their first
symptoms, the mortality rate was 15 per cent, compared with 27 per cent
over all, and the authors suggested it may work better if combined with
other antiviral agents.

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop treatments and vaccines for
the virus. So far, scientists have most hope for remdesivir, a drug
developed by Gilead as a potential treatment for Ebola. Hospitals in the US
are also stockpiling generic antimalarial drugs chloroquine and
hydroxychloroquine, which have shown some positive impact in small studies.

“AbbVie did the right thing,” said Ms ‘t Hoen. “But it foremost shows the
power of the measure. Benefits will be immediate for people living with
HIV, because generic supply is now possible everywhere in the world. The
usefulness for Covid-19 still needs to be demonstrated and trials have
started.”


-- 
Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org


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