United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warns rising tide of hunger, insecurity, and underfunding worsening gender-based violence risksRead more The Royal Thai Embassy presents the cultures of Thailand at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Festival in KenyaRead more Climate change is the biggest global threat, young people in Africa and Europe tell European Investment Bank (EIB), Debating Africa and Debating EuropeRead more $2 million in prizes awarded at Conference of the Parties (COP27) to African youth-led businessesRead more Africa and Europe’s top business and public sector leaders gather to chart Africa’s economic rebirthRead more The Thai delegation’s active participation at the 145th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in KigaliRead more Canon shares winning image of its Redline Challenge competition 2022Read more Turning the tide on breast cancer in the Middle East and Africa (By Pelin Incesu)Read more Teaching someone to fish: the false dichotomy of relief and development (By Professor Mark Shrime)Read more Canada-Africa collaboration: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to open Africa Accelerating 2022 on 25 OctoberRead more

First-ever licencing deal struck for cancer drug

show caption
Novartis makes nilotinib, a drug used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Oct 20, 2022 - 01:21 PM

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has signed a licensing agreement increasing access to a vital leukaemia treatment, a UN-backed public health organisation said Thursday, marking the first-ever such agreement for a cancer drug.

The deal will give selected manufacturers the opportunity to develop, manufacture and supply generic versions of nilotinib, a twice-daily oral medication used to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

“Access to high-quality cancer medicines is a crucial component of the global health response to the cancer burden,” said Charles Gore, head of the Medicines Patent Pool, the United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to life-saving medicines in poorer countries.

While the remaining patent period for nilotinib was “relatively short”, he said the licencing deal set “a vital precedent that I hope other companies will follow”, Gore said in a statement.

Novartis president of global health and sustainability Lutz Hegemann said the company was “proud to be pioneering this new licensing model with MPP”.

The drug is listed on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines for the treatment of adults and children over the age of one suffering from CML.

Zeba Aziz, a medical oncologist at Hameed Latif Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, said nilotinib offers an alternative to people who are resistant or intolerant to imatinib, the first-line treatment for CML — about 20 percent of those who contract the disease.

“I am glad more people in (low and middle-income countries) will have access to this essential cancer medicine,” she said in the statement.

The licence includes seven middle-income countries: Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tunisia, where patents on the product are pending or in force, MPP said.

The Access to Oncology Medicines (ATOM) Coalition welcomed the deal.

“This is a first for cancer treatment anywhere and demonstrates that the combined efforts of the private and public sectors can pave the way to help save millions of lives,” ATOM co-chair Anil D-Cruz said in a separate statement.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.