Purdue University on Tuesday announced that pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has given the university the technology and branding rights for the antibiotic Seromycin, which is used to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, the Indianapolis Star reports. The drug will be produced at the university's Chao Center for Industrial Pharmacy and Contract Manufacturing. The deal makes Purdue the sole supplier of the antibiotic in North America, according to the Star.
Under the agreement, Lilly will provide the center with intellectual property and related analytical, regulatory, quality and technical support, in addition to necessary regulatory materials. Lilly also said it will donate equipment and supplies to the Purdue Research Foundation, which owns the Chao Center. The center will produce the antibiotic for pharmaceutical wholesalers in Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Joseph Hornett, senior vice president of the Purdue Research Foundation, said that the Chao Center already has FDA approval and has started distributing an inventory of drugs that it received from Lilly. The center plans to begin producing the antibiotic in the spring Lilly produced Seromycin for five decades, but it said more than one year ago that it would discontinue production of the drug. Small batches and low demand in the U.S. caused Lilly to lose money on the drug for years, according to the Star
. However, university officials and Lilly executives believe Seromycin could be profitable for Purdue. The university does not "have nearly the overhead that Lilly has," Hornett said, adding, "We have a smaller production facility with less overhead and shorter runs, and that makes all the difference in the world".
Iain Richardson, director of contract manufacturing for Lilly, said the company wants to focus on increasing access to "effective medications in countries with high instances of TB and focus global resource on prevention, diagnosis and treatment" of people who have MDR-TB. He added that the Chao Center is one of 14 organizations on five continents that are part of the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership. The $135 million initiative seeks to combat TB worldwide. Although MDR-TB is not common in North America, "it is escalating around the world and knocking on our front doors," Hornett said.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation