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Roche licenses China firm to produce Tamiflu
Updated: 2005-12-12 19:57

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG said Monday it has chosen 12 potential partners for the production of Tamiflu and granted one sublicense for the antiviral drug to Shanghai Pharmaceutical.

The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said it had reached a sublicensing deal for production of its flagship anti-influenza drug Tamiflu in China with Shanghai Pharmaceutical group. [AFP]

Roche said it will grant Shanghai Pharmaceutical rights for the overall production of Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, for use in China.

"They are allowed to and they will produce the drug from the beginning to the end," said Piller.

Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group also announced the licensing agreement Monday at its website Monday, saying "Roche and Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group have signed the first sub-licensing agreement for the overall production of oseltamivir for pandemic use in China."

An official with the Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group said its products will not bear the name of "Tamiflu", but the ingredients and quality will be the same with Tamiflu produced by Roche.

He said the group aims to form a monthly production capacity of 200,000 treatments in six months in the first step.

According to the official, the group made the request to produce and sell Tamiflu under a sub-license in November.

The announcement said Roche is also "in negotiations for local partnerships in other countries."

Roche said it compiled the shortlist of potential partners, which it did not identify, after evaluating around 200 applicants interested in helping with certain steps in the manufacture of Tamiflu. It didn't say how many it would finally choose.

Roche said it would mainly use the partners, which include major pharmaceutical makers, large generic manufacturers and specialty chemical producers, as backups, to meet specific regional needs and to prepare for any large additional government orders in the future.

"We are now also in the position to have a backup supply in case of an emergency," said David Reddy, who heads Roche's influenza pandemic task force.
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