Roche Tocilizumab IP Relaxation Does Not Go Far Enough
MSF Says Non-Enforcement Of Actemra/RoActemra Patents Should Go Beyond LMICs
After the WHO recommended the use of IL-6 receptor blockers to treat patients hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, Actemra/RoActemra originator Roche pledged not to enforce IP covering the tocilizumab brand in low- and middle-income countries during the pandemic. But humanitarian organization MSF says this does not go far enough.
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Dr Reddy’s says it is moving its biosimilar tocilizumab candidate into Phase III trials after successfully completing a Phase I study for the proposed rival to Actemra/RoActemra.
Fresenius Kabi has reported positive Phase I data for its MSB11456 proposed tocilizumab biosimilar rival to Actemra/Ro-Actemra, against the backdrop of shortages for the brand which is being used in some regions to treat COVID-19.
Roche is open to considering tie-ups with the Medicines Patent Pool or other voluntary patent pools to assess partners for Actemra, as part of efforts to broaden access to the immunotherapy for COVID-19. With a patent non-assert declaration on tocilizumab already in place, activists say the geographic scope of patent licenses will need to be broadened to have any real impact.