In a landmark move, Indian pharma giant, Biocon announced that it has received approval from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to market Itolizumab injection in the strengths of 25 mg/5 ml for severe COVID-19 patients.
The drug in question is used to treat patients with psoriasis, a debilitating skin ailment. The link between the two ailments – COVID and psoriasis is the drug’s ability to tone down the aggressive and self-damaging response of the body’s immune system. This condition of the body’s immune system overreacting was known as cytokine storm only in medical terms but is now, very commonly used among laymen.
The approval comes on the back of the successful conclusion of a randomised, controlled clinical trial at multiple hospitals in Mumbai and New Delhi. The primary targets for a reduction in mortality rate were met and other key secondary endpoints for efficacy and biomarkers were also achieved during these trials, the company stated in a press release.
The drug will be manufactured and formulated as an intravenous injection at Biocon’s bio-manufacturing facility at Biocon Park, Bengaluru.
Biocon thus joins the list of other pharma giants like Glenmark, Hetero and Cipla which rolled out repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19 patients in India. These repurposed drugs were designed to treat other diseases but their generic version is now used to treat Coronavirus.
The stock of Biocon was trading at Rs 417.90 at 2.50 pm on Monday, up by 0.87 per cent or Rs 3.60 per share. The 52-week high is recorded at Rs 455 and the 52-week low is Rs 211.30 on BSE.