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  • BDR Pharma gets license pact with DRDO for 2-DG

    BDR Pharma gets license pact with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to manufacture, distribute, and market COVID-19 drug 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG) in the country.

    Last month, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had approved the oral medication for emergency usage as adjuvant therapy in mild to severe COVID-19 patients.

  • Anti-COVID drug Colchicine cleared for phase 2 clinical trials

    Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and Laxai Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad, have been given the regulatory approval by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to undertake a two-arm phase-II clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of the drug Colchicine in the improvement of clinical outcomes during the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

  • DCGI approves 2-DG medicine for moderate to severe COVID-19 cases

    The Drugs Controller General of India, DCGI, has given permission for the emergency use of 2 deoxyD-glucose, 2-DG medicine as an adjunct therapy in moderate to severe Covid-19 cases.

    An anti-COVID-19 therapeutic application of the drug 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) has been developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a lab of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL), Hyderabad.

  • Zydus receives Emergency Use Approval from DCGI for the use of Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, Virafin

    Zydus Cadila announced that the company has received Restricted Emergency Use Approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for the use of  Virafin, Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN) in treating moderate COVID-19 infection in adults. A single dose subcutaneous regimen of the antiviral Virafin will make the treatment more convenient for the patients. When administered early on during COVID, Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid much of the complications.

  • Zydus seeks DCGI approval for the use of Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b in COVID-19

    Zydus Cadila announced that its Phase III clinical trials with Pegylated Interferon Alpha 2b, PegiHepTM has shown promising results in treating COVID-19. In what could be a breakthrough in the disease management of COVID-19, the interim results indicate that PegIFN when administered early on, could help patients recover faster and avoiding much of the complications seen in the advanced stages of the disease. PegIFN in COVID19 has several add-on advantages compared to other anti-viral agents.

  • Subject Expert Committee recommends DCGI to remove the Clinical Trial tag from Covaxin

    The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) recommends DCGI to remove the Clinical Trial tag from Covaxin by Bharat Biotech which is Whole Virion, Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine. And prior granted by DCGI under restricted use in emergency situation conditions.

    Recommendations of the SEC meeting to examine COVID-19 related proposal under accelerated approval process made in its 146th meeting held on 10.03.2021 at CDSCO, HQ New Delhi.

  • Zydus receives approval from DCGI to commence Phase III clinical trials with Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b in India

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    Zydus Cadila announced that it had received an approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to start the Phase 3 clinical trial in CoVID-19 patients with its biological therapy, Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, ‘PegiHepTM’. The trials which will commence in December will be conducted on 250 patients across 20-25 centres in India. In the Phase II clinical trials study established the early safety, efficacy and tolerability of PegiHep TM and has indicated that Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b having statistical clinical beneficial impact on the patient suffering from moderate COVID 19 disease by reducing their viral load helping in better disease management such as reduced duration of oxygen support. Moreover, a single dose therapy will improve compliance and also make it highly affordable for patients. Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, ‘PegiHepTM is an approved drug and is being re-purposed for the treatment of COVID-19.

    Speaking on the development, Dr. Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Ltd., said, “We are encouraged by the results of Phase II study of Pegylated Interferon alpha 2-b which has shown the potential to reduce virus titres when given earlier in the disease. Our efforts are to look at possible treatment options to fight COVID-19 which are safe, can be administered easily and also reduce the disease burden.”

    In the Phase 2 clinical trial which was open-label, randomized, comparator controlled study, involving 40 adult patients with moderate COVID-19 disease, 95% subjects in the test arm who received a single dose of PegiHepTM along with the Standard Of Care (SOC), became virus free as assessed by RT-PCR on day 14 and showed a statistically significant clinical improvement over the patients in the reference arm, who received only the standard of care and where only 68% patients showed an improvement in clinical symptoms and became RT-PCR negative.


    In the test arm 16 subjects were RT-PCR negative as early as day 7 of treatment which was an improvement over the reference arm. Clinical improvement was assessed using a seven point ordinal scale where the patients were assessed on multiple criteria such as requirement and duration of hospitalization, ventilation, supplemental oxygen etc.

    Zydus Cadila is also conducting a similar Phase 2 trial in Mexico. The Company is also working with the USFDA to open an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b in order to initiate appropriate clinical trials in US.


    Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b is not a new therapy. The product was first approved internationally in 2001 and is also included in WHO’s Essential Medicines List. Zydus Cadila’s Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b, PegiHepTM, was originally approved for Hepatitis C and was launched in the Indian market in 2011. Since then safe and efficacious drug use for this product has been demonstrated in thousands of patients. Given that type I interferons including Interferon alpha have been implicated as crucial in the protection against SARS-CoV-2 in the recent publications in the leading journal Science (Hadjadj et al, Bastard et al and Zhang et al), the findings in Zydus Cadila’s Phase 2 study are not surprising. In this study, a single dose of PegiHep at 1 mcg/kg body weight was tested to find out whether the drug could be repurposed for treating moderate COVID-19 patients. In 19 out of 20 patients, a single 1 mcg/kg dose of the drug demonstrated viral clearance as assessed by RT-PCR and a significant improvement in clinical symptoms.

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  • Itolizumab receives DCGI nod for moderate to severe COVID-19

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    Biocon Ltd an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company, announced that it has received the Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval to market Itolizumab  (ALZUMAb®) Injection 25mg/5mL solution for emergency use in India for the treatment of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) in moderate to severe  ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) patients due to COVID-19.

    Itolizumab is the first novel biologic therapy to be approved anywhere in the world for treating patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 complications. Biocon has repurposed Itolizumab, an anti-CD6 IgG1 monoclonal antibody launched in India in 2013 as ALZUMAb® for treating chronic plaque psoriasis, for the treatment of CRS in moderate to severe ARDS patients due to COVID-19.

    Itolizumab will be manufactured and formulated as an intravenous injection at Biocon’s bio-manufacturing facility at Biocon Park, Bengaluru.


    The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been observed to induce an overreaction of the immune system, generating a large number of cytokines that can cause severe damage to the lungs and other organs, and, in the worst scenario, multi-organ failure and even death.

    The approval of Itolizumab, from the DCGI is based on the results from the successful conclusion of a randomized, controlled clinical trial at multiple hospitals in Mumbai and New Delhi.  The study focussed on the safety and efficacy of Itolizumab in preventing CRS in moderate to severe ARDS patients due to COVID-19. The primary endpoints for reduction in mortality rate were met and other key secondary endpoints for efficacy and biomarkers were also achieved.


    Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon, said: “As an innovation-led biopharmaceuticals company, I am proud of the successful outcome of the pivotal study we conducted with our novel immuno-modulating anti-CD6 monoclonal antibody, Itolizumab, which has proven to be an efficacious intervention in treating the serious hyper immune response seen with COVID-19. The data is compelling and I am confident that this ‘first-in-class’ biologic will save lives and help reduce the mortality rate in our country.

    “This positions India amongst the leading global innovators in their effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. The randomized control trial indicated that all the patients treated with Itolizumab (ALZUMAb®) responded positively and recovered. The control arm that did not receive Itolizumab unfortunately had deaths. Itolizumab is now approved for the treatment of CRS in patients with moderate to severe ARDS due to COVID-19. We plan to take this therapy to other parts of the world impacted by the pandemic.

    “Itolizumab’s unique mechanism of action made it an ideal candidate for treating the ‘cytokine storm’, which is a leading cause of death in COVID-19 patients. I am pleased that our R&D and clinical teams delivered on this promising hypothesis in such a short period of time. It is a proud moment for all of us at Biocon and we would like more and more patients to benefit from this therapy. I also thank the investigators and the regulators for the sense of urgency that they displayed in this study.

    “ALZUMAb®  has a seven-year proven track record of safety as doctors in India have been prescribing this biologic to treat acute psoriasis and ensure a better quality of life for patients and now we will be able to save many critically ill COVID-19 patients with our drug.”

    Dr Suresh Kumar, Medical Director, Lok Nayak Hospital, Delhi said: “At the time of this COVID-19 pandemic, we do not have any specific treatment for patients who are losing the fight against the disease in spite of best supportive care. Lok Nayak Hospital was one of the sites of the Itolizumab study wherein we used Itolizumab to treat eight patients. These patients did extremely well even with a single dose of Itolizumab. Patients who were with initial oxygen saturation of less than 80% and would have  been put on ventilator support with little chance of survival, recovered completely when treated with Itolizumab and got discharged. I sincerely believe Itolizumab will not only help in reducing morbidity and mortality of COVID-19 patients but will also help us in judiciously managing healthcare resources like ICUs and ventilators for critically ill patients.

    Dr Mohan Joshi, Dean, BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai, said: “In our hospital, we have tried Itolizumab in many COVID-19 patients with moderate to severe ARDS and found significant improvement in clinical, radiological and inflammatory markers after administering Itolizumab. These outcomes were quite evident with one dose of Itolizumab when administered before the ‘cytokine storm’ set in. Most of the patients have well tolerated the drug. Given the growing surge of COVID-19 cases, I would recommend use of Itolizumab in moderate to severe complications in COVID-19.

    Dr Sandeep Athalye, Chief Medical Officer, Biocon Biologics, said: “We are delighted with the results of the clinical trial for Itolizumab in India. Itolizumab demonstrated statistically significant advantage over the control arm, in one month mortality rate. Key efficacy parameters such as PaO2 and SpO2 (oxygen saturation) improvement without increasing FiO2 (oxygen flow) also showed statistically significant advantage for Itolizumab arm over the control arm. All the patients on Itolizumab arm were weaned off oxygen by Day 30, and none needed ventilator support unlike the control arm. Key secondary endpoints of clinical markers of inflammation such as IL-6, TNF-α, serum ferritin, d-dimer, LDH and CRP showed clinically significant suppression post dose and correlated well with clinical improvement in symptoms and chest x-ray images. Itolizumab was overall well tolerated and was found to be safe. Itolizumab when administered to patients with moderate to severe ARDS due to COVID-19, prevents morbidity and mortality due to cytokine storm.

    India currently has more than 283,400* documented active coronavirus infections and over 22,100* deaths

    Itolizumab’s unique mechanism of action of immunomodulation involves binding to the CD6 receptor and blocking the activation of T lymphocytes, which in turn suppresses the pro-inflammatory cytokines, thus reducing the cytokine storm and deadly inflammatory response.

    Biocon launched ALZUMAb® (Itolizumab) in India in 2013 for the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis. Many patients have benefitted from this novel therapy.

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  • Mylan gets DCGI nod for Remdesivir in restricted emergency use in COVID-19 patients in India

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    Mylan announced that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved its remdesivir 100 mg/vial for restricted emergency use in India as part of the DCGI’s accelerated approval process to address urgent, unmet needs amid the evolving coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The drug is approved for the treatment of suspected or laboratory confirmed incidences of COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe presentations of the disease. The drug will be launched under the brand name DESREM™ in India and will be available to patients in July at a price of INR 4,800, which is more than 80% less than the price at which the branded version of this product will be available to governments in the developed world.

    Mylan will manufacture remdesivir in India at its world-class injectables facilities, which also make product for the U.S. and have been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for compliance with good manufacturing practices. The company continues to work extensively toward expanding emergency use access for patients in the 127 low- and middle-income countries where it is licensed by Gilead Sciences to do so, subject to reviews by national regulatory bodies and the Prequalification Program of the World Health Organization (WHO). The approval by DCGI in India represents the first for Mylan in these 127 markets.

    Mylan President Rajiv Malik said: “Mylan and Gilead Sciences have partnered for many years to make high quality medicines available to people who need them and have made significant progress to reduce the incidence of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, around the world. We commend Gilead for their continued leadership on this front, and also applaud and are proud to continue partnering with the DCGI for its ongoing efforts to accelerate access to critical medicine for patients with COVID-19 in India.

    Malik continued: “Our approval is a significant milestone for Mylan, for the global public health community and, most importantly, for patients who are battling this pandemic. Developing DESREM™ and bringing it to patients in India with such unprecedented speed is a testament to the strength of our global operations and scientific capabilities and our commitment to serving patients who continue to rely on us during this time. We are proud to continue our work in support of public health in partnership with governments and other stakeholders as we work together in the fight against COVID-19.”


    Rakesh Bamzai, President, India and Emerging Markets, said: “The growing global threat of COVID-19 requires a commitment to action by everyone involved in public health. Mylan is cognizant of its responsibility in fighting this pandemic and will leverage its global resources and capabilities including R&D, regulatory, manufacturing and supply chain, while engaging with key stakeholders across the licensed territories to serve the patients in need and further its mission of creating better health for a better world.”

    Mylan previously announced a global collaboration agreement with Gilead Sciences for the commercialization of remdesivir in 127 low- and middle-income countries, including India. Mylan has a long-standing history of partnering with Gilead to tackle key public health issues in India and around the world, beginning with expanding access to high quality, affordable HIV/AIDS antiretrovirals and now extending its partnership to include COVID19 treatments. Remdesivir is the tenth medicine licensed to Mylan by Gilead, who signed their first agreement in 2006 for the HIV medicine, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate.


    As a leading global pharmaceutical company, Mylan is committed to continue doing its part in support of public health needs. As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, Mylan’s priorities remain protecting the health and safety of its workforce, continuing to produce critically needed medicines, deploying our resources and expertise in the fight against COVID-19 through potential prevention and treatment efforts, and supporting the communities in which we operate.

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  • Biocon Biologics Receives DCGI Approval for Emergency Use of CytoSorb® to Treat Critical COVID-19 Patients

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    Biocon Ltd an innovation-led global biopharmaceuticals company, announced that its subsidiary Biocon Biologics has received the Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval for an extracorporeal blood purification (EBP) device CytoSorb® to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines levels in confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure.

    Biocon Biologics has been granted licence for emergency use of CytoSorb in public interest by the Indian health regulator to treat COVID-19 patients who are 18 years of age or older. The licence will be effective until control of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

    Studies have shown that COVID-19 patients who develop serious complications experience a ‘cytokine storm,’ also known as Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), which leads to excessive inflammation, organ failure and death. The goal of CytoSorb therapy is to reduce cytokine storm and the deadly inflammatory response through blood purification so that this injury may be mitigated or prevented.

    The Company has received approval from DCGI in Form MD-15 (Medical Device) for reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in order to control the ‘cytokine storm’ and benefit COVID-19 patients who are in a critical condition.


    Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon, said: “As a science-led organization, Biocon’s endeavour is to provide innovative solutions to patients to address their unmet needs. CytoSorb is an in-licensed unique device that reduces cytokine storm in critically ill patients and was introduced by Biocon in India in 2013.

    Since then many patients undergoing organ transplant and sepsis treatment have benefitted from it.  DCGI approval for emergency use of CytoSorb for critical COVID-19 patients is an important example of how industry and regulators are working in tandem to urgently provide physicians and patients with new treatment options in the fight against COVID-19. CytoSorb will be an important addition to the Indian medical community’s arsenal against the deadly coronavirus.”


    With more than 80,000* documented active coronavirus infections and over 4,000* deaths, India needs new therapies to reduce the severity of this disease.

    CytoSorb is plug-and-play compatible with the most commonly used blood purification machines or pumps in the ICU used to treat COVID-19 patients, including hemoperfusion, hemodialysis, continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT), and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines.

    In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of CytoSorb for use in patients with COVID-19 infection.

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