The world’s largest pharmaceutical company, Novartis, has inked the first-ever license arrangement for cancer medicine, boosting access to a crucial leukemia therapy, an UN-backed public health organization said on Thursday.
The agreement will allow a small group of manufacturers to create, produce, and distribute generic copies of the twice-daily oral medicine nilotinib used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Charles Gore, chairman of the Medicines Patent Pool, the United Nations-backed public health organization striving to promote access to life-saving medications in poorer countries, said: “Access to high-quality cancer medicines is a vital component of the global health response to the cancer burden.”
Nilotinib’s remaining patent term was “quite limited,” but Gore said the licensing agreement established “a crucial precedent that I hope other firms would follow.”
The business was “happy to be pioneering this new license arrangement with MPP,” according to Lutz Hegemann, president of global health and sustainability at Novartis.
The medication is add on the WHO’s list of essential medicines for treating CML in adults and children over one.
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Nilotinib provides an option for individuals resistant to or intolerant to imatinib, the first-line therapy for CML, which accounts for roughly 20% of those who get the condition, according to Zeba Aziz, a medical oncologist at Hameed Latif Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan.
She says in the release, “I am happy that more individuals in (poor and middle-income countries) will have access to this crucial cancer medication.”
The license covers seven middle-income nations with pending or active patents on the product: Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tunisia.
The Access praised the agreement with Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Coalition.
Anil D-Cruz, a co-chair of ATOM, stated in a separate statement, “This is a first for cancer therapy anywhere and proves that the joint efforts of the commercial and public sectors can lead the way to help save millions of lives.”