Novartis has signed a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool to allow generic production of its patented drug Tasigna (nilotinib) to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). This landmark agreement represents the first time that a commercial pharma company will voluntarily allow licensing of the generic of a patented cancer drug. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 2022 World Cancer Congress.
The deal will allow selected generic drug manufacturers to develop and supply generic versions of nilotinib in seven middle-income countries: Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tunisia. Nilotinib was added to the WHO EML and EMLc respectively in 2017 and 2019 as second-line therapy for the treatment of CML that is resistant to imatinib.
Charles Gore, MPP Executive Director, said, “Access to high-quality cancer medicines is a crucial component of the global health response to the cancer burden, therefore I am delighted to be signing our first licence agreement with Novartis for a much-needed cancer treatment in LMICs. Although the remaining patent life is relatively short, this voluntary licence in the non-communicable disease space sets a vital precedent that I hope other companies will follow.”
The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed public health organization working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.