Viiv eyes Indian partners for Celsentri launch

HIV drug specialist Viiv Healthcare is looking for partners in India. The joint venture of Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline wants to launch its HIV med Celsentri (maraviroc) in that country later this year, and it wants to team up with a local company to make that happen, McClatchy-Tribune reports.

Viiv could make a deal for manufacturing or marketing, spokeswoman Rebecca Hunt told the news service. "It is too early, and we are not ruling out either." Whichever company Viiv chooses, the aim is to introduce Celsentri at a "competitive price" as part of a tiered pricing strategy in developing countries.

Another possibility Viiv isn't ruling out is Natco Pharma, which stirred the pot earlier this month by asking Pfizer for a license to market its generic version. Under Indian law, that demand was the first step toward gaining a compulsory license, which would allow Natco to make and sell its version without a license from Viiv. "Natco's offer is one of the many options we will consider," Hunt said. The Indian company wouldn't comment.

- read the McClatchy story