Eli Lilly today announced the US$1 million milestone payment to South Africa's Aspen Pharma, as part of the joint collaboration on expanding access to medicines to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
The milestone is part of a Transfer of Technology agreement between Aspen and Lilly, initiated in 2003 under the umbrella of the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, a global project to tackle the growing MDR-TB epidemic.
The collaboration involved the transfer of Lilly’s drug manufacturing and packaging technology to enable Aspen to manufacture two essential anti-TB drugs. Lilly provided manufacturing know-how, access to technical experts, and other assistance to assure the quality and sustainability of the manufacturing processes.
“Aspen has invested more than R1 billion in the construction and enhancement of its local manufacturing facilities which includes South Africa’s only freeze-dried lyophilisation capability. The Lilly MDR-TB initiative collaboration arrangement is a further important milestone as it enables Aspen to manufacture and distribute Capreomycin, one of the few key treatment options available for the highly virulent MDR-TB. Lilly’s approach, amongst others, through the capex contribution to the project, is consistent with South Africa’s Industrial Policy of retaining and developing critical skills and unique technologies, reducing the dependency on imported products and providing export opportunities for the pharmaceutical sector,” said Stavros Nicolaou, Aspen Senior Executive.
“This payment represents an important milestone in our partnership with Aspen,” said Iain Richardson, Senior Director of Global Supply Chain and Logistics at Eli Lilly and Company. “This collaboration ensures patients in the region and globally will receive an uninterrupted supply of quality MDR-TB drugs from a reliable manufacturer.”
The partnership with Aspen represents one of four similar partnerships Lilly holds with pharmaceutical manufacturers based in high burden countries where MDR-TB is most prevalent. These additional partnerships are between Lilly and SIA International (Russia), Shasun Chemicals and Drugs (India), and Hisun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd (China).