Cadila Healthcare (ZydusCadila), an Ahmedabad-based pharmaceutical company, recently announced that it has launched an oral therapy called ‘SoviHep’ for Hepatitis C and that it will be marketed by Zydus Heptiza, a specific division of the group.
Zydus and Gilead Sciences Inc. have established a non-exclusive licensing agreement that covers sofosbuvir’s manufacturing, and states the fixed-dose combination of ledipasvir/sofosbuvir will be distributed in India and in 90 more countries. The firm said that through the oral therapy more than 10 million patients suffering from Hepatitis C would benefit in India.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease that is spread at first through blood-to-blood contact, and is linked to poorly or non-sterilized medical equipment, and through transfusions. Estimates indicate that 150 to 200 million people in the world are infected with HCV. It is frequently asymptomatic, however, chronic infection can lead to liver scarring and cirrhosis. Some patients might develop liver cancer, liver failure (requiring liver transplantation) or other life-threatening complications. Hepatitis C is the number one reason behind the demand for liver transplantations but the virus usually recurs after the procedure.
For more than a decade the disease has been treated in India with PEG-IFN and Ribavirin. But only 1 percent ofpatients have access to treatment and the majority remain undiagnosed until the late stages of the disease.
“The launch of SoviHep is expected to improve the situation as it takes care of all current treatment needs of PAN-genotypic activity, with barrier to resistance, potent with convenience & compliance therapy. Additionally, SoviHep can also be used in combination with ribavirin (RibaHep) for treatment of chronic Hepatitis C patients with hepatocellular carcinoma awaiting liver transplantation for up to 48 weeks or until liver transplantation to prevent post-transplant HCV infection,” stated the company’s representatives.
The Zydus group’s representative, Pankaj Patel, said: “We are happy to partner with Gilead Sciences to make this breakthrough therapy accessible to patients of Hepatitis C in India. It bridges a longstanding unmet healthcare need.”