Sun partners world genetic centre to develop dengue drug
"Today we have signed an agreement for the development of Cissampelos pariera (Cipa), a botanical drug, in collaboration with ICGEB. Usually any drug development takes around four-eight years but since we have done some pre-clinical work already we expect the drug to hit markets in the next four years," said Sun Pharma Senior Vice President Business Development and Portfolio Management Kirti Ganorkar.
Once developed, the company plans to register the drug across various global markets, he added. "As we go along, we will apply to get it registered all over the world," Ganorkar said. The agreement permits Sun Pharma access to all the intellectual properties of the drug across 17 countries. When asked about the pricing of the product, Ganorkar said: "We are still at a very early stage and it is difficult to say about the pricing but one thing I can say right now is that our target is to make it very affordable."
Sun Pharma will fund the entire development programme and pay royalty following commercialisation of the drug. ICGEB on the other hand will provide the technical know-how and pre-clinical expertise. However, the Mumbai-based drug major did not disclose the financial details citing confidentiality clause. A botanical drug is a plant-derived medicinal product that is intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in humans.
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Director Dinakar M Salunke said a drug for dengue is being increasingly recognised as an unmet public health need. "Using the knowledge of traditional Indian medicine, we explored the indigenous herbal bio-resource to identify plants with pan-DENV inhibitory activity and identified Cipa as a safe, affordable and effective solution," Salunke added.