FIND & Cipla announce hepatitis C partnership

New Delhi & Geneva – 14 April 2016 – FIND and Cipla are pleased to announce a strategic collaboration to improve hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment in India, and elsewhere.

India has an estimated 12 million people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV), most of whom do not know their status. The widespread availability of better diagnostic tests for the virus, combined with affordable, highly effective treatment, would be a game-changer.

As part of a framework collaboration agreement signed by FIND and Cipla, potential areas of focus for the new partnership include: supporting work to improve the sensitivity of new HCV diagnostic tests; building diagnostic capacity and an enabling environment for HCV treatment scale-up; and collaborating on the development and evaluation of demonstration programmes that combine HCV testing and treatment for high-risk populations, including those with HIV co-infection. Deaths from viral hepatitis have now surpassed those associated with HIV in many parts of the world. Unlike HIV, however, HCV is curable.

“The new direct-acting antiviral therapy is effective, with few side effects and more affordable.  Partnering with leading doctors in the field of liver disease, Cipla has been able to provide treatment to thousands of patients over the past year,” said Denis Broun, Head of Government Affairs, Cipla. “As prices keep decreasing, several States have started to finance the treatment of hepatitis C, which will make it available to low-income patients”.

The new HCV therapies, which are relatively non-toxic compared to earlier interferon-based treatments, have a greater than 95% cure rate over just 12-24 weeks of treatment. Older treatments took a year or more, and were much less effective.

“The challenge is to increase access to the new treatments in countries that don’t have simple, low-cost screening and confirmatory tests for HCV,” said Dr Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND. “Public screening and diagnosis programmes paired with treatment are needed if we are to maximize the impact of new HCV drugs in low- and middle-income countries.”

Currently, HCV diagnosis requires two or more steps, including a rapid HCV screening test followed by a molecular test of HCV core antigen or HCV RNA. None of these tests are available in rapid formats at affordable prices. A single confirmed case of active HCV infection currently costs more than US$ 100 to diagnose. Even with streamlined testing, the cost of screening will exceed US$ 30 without interventions to address the issue.

Affordable screening tests adapted for resource-limited settings, the political will to implement comprehensive HCV programmes, and innovative public-private partnerships are all needed to improve HCV care in most countries. Partnerships will necessarily involve a wide range of institutions across academia, industry, the public sector and civil society. Gilead has established an access program for HCV treatment in low- and middle-income countries through non-exclusive licenses to other pharmaceutical companies, including Cipla, at greatly reduced prices.

About Cipla Limited
Cipla is a global pharmaceutical company which uses cutting edge technology and innovation to meet the everyday needs of all patients. For 80 years, Cipla has emerged as one of the most respected pharmaceutical names in India as well as across more than 150 countries. Our portfolio includes over 1500 products across wide range of therapeutic categories with one quality standard globally.

Whilst delivering a long-term sustainable business, Cipla recognises its duty to provide affordable medicines. Cipla’s emphasis on access for patients was recognised globally for the pioneering role played in HIV/AIDS treatment as the first pharmaceutical company to provide a triple combination anti-retroviral (ARV) in Africa at less than a dollar a day and thereby treating many millions of patients since 2001.

Cipla’s research and development focuses on developing innovative products and drug delivery systems.

About FIND
FIND was established in 2003 as a global non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development, evaluation and delivery of high-quality, affordable diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, sleeping sickness, hepatitis C, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and Buruli ulcer. Over the last decade, FIND has partnered in the delivery of 11 new diagnostic tools, including six for tuberculosis, and created an enabling environment for numerous others through the provision of specimen banks, reagent development and better market visibility. FIND also supports better access to new diagnostics through implementation, quality assurance and lab strengthening work. FIND has nearly 200 partners globally, including research institutes and laboratories, health ministries and national disease control programmes, commercial partners, clinical trial sites, and bilateral and multilateral organizations, especially WHO.

FIND media inquiries:
Archita Khanna
+91 9871691047
Shilpy Roy
+91 9650111652
Julie Archer
+41 22 749 29 33 (desk)
+41 79 830 63 64 (mobile)
julie.archer@finddx.org
Cipla media inquiries:  
Corporate Communications
Charlotte Chunawala
Mobile: +91 7506257377
charlotte.chunawala@cipla.com
Pallavi Golar
Mobile: +91 9833641788
pallavi.golar@cipla.com