AbbVie has had success with its new pan-genotypic hepatitis C drug Mavyret, generating blockbuster-level sales at the expense of competitors. Now, the company has inked a deal with the Medicines Patent Pool to boost access to the drug in nearly 100 low- and middle-income countries and territories.
The royalty-free license will allow generics makers to develop and produce cheap versions of the drug for distribution in markets such as Egypt, South Africa and Vietnam, potentially allowing millions of patients around the world to access a cure.
Gottfried Hirnschall, World Health Organization director of HIV and hepatitis programs, said in a statement that the agreement “is an important step toward achieving elimination of hepatitis C worldwide.”
A global organization, MPP is aiming to increase access to lifesaving drugs through licenses. AbbVie said in a statement that the company “recognizes that the availability of a pan-genotypic HCV treatment will be critical to advancing HCV prioritization, access and elimination efforts globally.”
MPP already has a partnership with AbbVie in HIV, having licensed pediatric formulations of Kaletra in November 2014 for 102 markets. The group also licensed adult formulations of the drug for use in Africa. In hepatitis C, MPP has a partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb on Daklinza in at least 112 countries.
AbbVie’s Mavyret won U.S. approval in August 2017 and is a WHO-recommended treatment for the viral infection. Commercially, the drug has been a success and is part of a stable of hepatitis C drugs that have pulled in $2.75 billion so far this year.
That success has come at the expense of competitor Gilead Sciences, which previously dominated the hepatitis C field with Sovaldi and Harvoni. New entrants from AbbVie and others have increased competition in the field, hurting Gilead’s pricing power.