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Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Treatment to Reach Low- and Middle-Income Countries

November 16, 2021 • 7:48 am CST
(Precision Vaccinations)

New York-based Pfizer Inc. and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) today announced a voluntary license agreement for Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral antiviral treatment candidate PF-07321332, sold under the trade name Paxlovid.

The agreement will enable MPP to facilitate additional production and distribution of the investigational antiviral, pending regulatory authorization or approval, by granting sub-licenses to qualified generic medicine manufacturers to facilitate greater access to the global population.

Under the terms of the head license agreement between Pfizer and MPP, qualified generic medicine manufacturers worldwide that are granted sub-licenses will be able to supply PF-07321332 in combination with ritonavir to 95 countries, covering up to approximately 53% of the world’s population.

“This license is so important because, if authorized or approved, this oral drug is particularly well-suited for low- and middle-income countries and could play a critical role in saving lives, contributing to global efforts to fight the current pandemic,” said Charles Gore, Executive Director of MPP, in a press release.

“PF-07321332 is to be taken together with ritonavir, an HIV medicine we know well, as we have had a license on it for many years, and we will be working with generic companies to ensure there is enough supply for both COVID-19 and HIV.”

PF-07321332 is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor antiviral therapy, specifically designed to be administered orally to be prescribed at the first sign of infection or at first awareness of exposure, potentially helping patients avoid severe illness, which can lead to hospitalization and death.

PF-07321332 is designed to block the activity of the SARS-CoV-2-3CL protease, an enzyme that the coronavirus needs to replicate.

Co-administration with a low dose of ritonavir helps slow the metabolism, or breakdown, of PF-07321332 to remain active in the body for more extended periods at higher concentrations to help combat the virus.

The Medicines Patent Pool is a United Nations-backed public health organization working to increase access to and facilitate the development of life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.

Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organizations, industry, patient groups, and other stakeholders to prioritize and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations.

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