Drugmaker Lupin aims to be the forefront of bringing Covid-19 products into the country, including next-generation mRNA vaccines, said Managing Director Nilesh Gupta.

“There are no mRNA products prodcuts being sold in India at this point of time. We would absolutely love to be able to distribute some of these,” Gupta told BusinessLine , on his plans to bolster their basket of Covid products. “There are about half a dozen mRNA vaccines that are in a meaningful stage of development. The lead ones are from Pfizer and Moderna, but there are others and from our perspective would love to bring one of these products to market,”he said, even though they required a more complex cold chain for distribution.

Lupin has a fill-finish facility that has been offered to vaccine makers, he said, adding that they were open to getting the bulk drug and completing the finishing process here.

Also read: Lilly signs agreements with Cipla, Lupin and Sun Pharma for Baricitinib

Having been “quiet” in the first wave of the pandemic, he said, they aimed now “to be in the front running of every product that comes. There are new products from Merck, there are new products from Pfizer and it would be our intention to be in the first wave of all these products as they come to market.”

Deal with Lilly

Lupin has recently formalised a voluntary licensing deal with Eli Lilly on Covid drug Baricitinib. He said they were working on Merck’s (MSD) Molnupiravir and Gilead’s remdesivir and were looking to get voluntary licences on them as well.

On the discussions taking place globally and locally on compulsory licensing (that allows a third party to make an innovator product on payment of royalty), he said, “it’s natural for countries to have this conversation at this point of time,”but, he added, it was a short term solution and did not address the problem in the long term.

Gupta was talking to the media, after the company announced its financial performance for the year gone by. The company closed the year ended March 31, 2021 with a total revenue of ₹15,163 crore and a net profit of ₹1,216 crore.

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