India gives Hetero Labs and Cipla approval to make Gilead's COVID-19 drug

FILE PHOTO: Gilead Sciences Inc pharmaceutical company is seen after they announced a Phase 3 Trial of the investigational antiviral drug Remdesivir in patients with severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Oceanside, California, U.S., April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) - India's drug regulator has given Hetero Labs and Cipla Ltd CIPL.NS the green light to manufacture and market their generic version of Gilead Sciences Inc's GILD.O experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, the Indian pharmaceutical companies said on Sunday.

The drug, which will be marketed under the brand name Covifor, will likely be priced at 5,000 to 6,000 rupees ($66-$79) for a 100 milligram dose, Hetero said.

India’s Cipla said its generic version of remdesivir will be called Cipremi.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) was not immediately available for comment.

Gilead Sciences Inc signed non-exclusive licensing pacts last month with five generic drugmakers based in India and Pakistan to expand the supply of its COVID-19 treatment.

The pacts allow Jubilant Life Sciences Ltd JULS.NS, Cipla, Hetero Labs, Mylan NV MYL.O and Ferozsons Laboratories Ltd FERO.PSX to make and sell the drug in 127 countries.

Indian drugmaker Zydus Cadila CADI.NS said last week it signed a non-exclusive licensing pact with Gilead Sciences to manufacture and market remdesivir.

India reported a record jump in coronavirus infections on Saturday, an increase of 14,516 COVID-19 cases, the health ministry said, taking the total to 395,047 with 12,948 deaths.

Reporting by Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; Editing by David Clarke and Emelia Sithole-Matarise