Sun Pharma and The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, an institution of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , New Delhi announced that they have signed an agreement for testing phytopharmaceutical, biologic and chemical entities developed by Sun Pharma against Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue viruses. Sun Pharma will provide drug molecules to NIV for testing against Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue in model systems. Candidate molecules with encouraging data will then be taken forward for commercial development.
Sun Pharma and NIV aim to promote discovery sciences, translational health research and development of medical products, which is in sync with the direction provided by Govt. of India’s ‘Make In India’ initiative. Sun Pharma’s agreement with NIV follows its MOU with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting joint scientific research and innovation for testing of drugs, biosimilars and vaccines and disease control and elimination programs.
Together, Sun Pharma and NIV will work together to respond to significant and emerging public health threats in India and rest of the world due to viruses: Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue. These are arboviral diseases that have rapidly spread across globally in the last decade, and have often led to large-scale endemic outbreaks in tropical and sub-tropical countries.
While these viral diseases are transmitted to humans by infected Aedes mosquitoes, Zika and chickungunya viruses are genetically related. These three diseases pose major public health concern due to lack of any vaccine or any specific therapeutic drugs to treat or cure. The patients are given symptomatic treatment.
Commenting on the agreement signed with NIV, Mr. Kirti Ganorkar, Executive VP & Head, Global Business Development, Sun Pharma, said, “Our agreement with NIV for developing drugs against Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue is part of our broader commitment for developing new and improved vaccines and drugs against arboviruses that are of significant health importance to India and rest of the world. Our decision to partner with NIV was made following extensive due diligence and consultations on existing programs globally.”
According to Dr. Devendra Mourya, Director, NIV, Pune, ”Dengue and Chikungunya are major public health problem in India like most of the tropical and subtropical countries. Recently, rapid spread of Zika virus across the world has added threat to the list of Aedes borne infections. Unfortunately, yet no effective antivirals and vaccines are available for these infections. Our agreement with Sun Pharma aims to find a solution to these unmet needs”