On June 26, 2023, the Japanese Pharmaceutical Company Shionogi & Co., Ltd and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), a United Nations-backed international public health organization, have announced the signature of seven sublicense agreements for Shionogi's ensitrelvir (fumaric acid), a COVID-19 antiviral currently approved in Japan and being evaluated in clinical trials outside of Japan.
The announcement was made on the sidelines of a business briefing in Tokyo co-convened by MPP and global health partnership Unitaid. The sublicense agreements were signed with the well-known Ukrainian Group of Pharmaceutical Companies “Lekhim” and their colleagues - generic manufacturing companies from China (Zhejiang Charioteer Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Lepu Pharmaceutical Co.,Ltd., and Fosun International Limited), from India (Hetero and Laurus Labs Limited); and from Vietnam (Stellapharm J.V. Co., Ltd.).
The signature of sublicense agreements with MPP on production of a generic version of the Shionogi’s oral antiviral drug ensitrelvir for COVID-19 increases access to the drug in low- and middle-income countries as under the license agreement the selected generic manufacturers will be able to produce and supply ensitrelvir in 117 countries after obtaining a regulatory approval or an authorization in their countries.
It should be noted that the head license agreement was concluded between MPP and Shionogi in October 2022, and for MPP this is the first contract with a Japanese pharmaceutical company.
Isao Teshirogi, authorized Director, President and CEO of Shionogi, noted that the signature of 7 sublicense agreements between drug manufacturer and MPP demonstrates the commitment to creation of generic versions of ensitrelvir for low- and middle-income countries and is an excellent example of strategic partnership for global health care improvement.
Charles Gore, MPP’s Executive Director, congratulated the Group of Pharmaceutical Companies “Lekhim” and six other drug manufacturers on conclusion of sublicense agreements with MPP and welcome Lekhim as this is the first sublicence agreements that they have signed with MPP.
Today, the Group of Pharmaceutical Companies “Lekhim” is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies of Ukraine in the development, production and sale of medicinal products, the product portfolio of which includes more than 200 names of medicinal products from almost all therapeutic groups.
However, the company never rests on its laurels and launches a number of innovative projects to optimize business processes, expands and modernizes production, conducts actively research and develops and introduces new areas of the external economic activity.
The signature of the sublicense agreement for ensitrelvir is another step towards recognition and formation of sustainable partnerships with foreign companies that will make it possible to ensure access to this medicinal product in low- and middle-income countries.