Glaxo To Step Up Capacity For Elephantiasis Drug Production
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15 October 2010
New Delhi, India
British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will increase its capacity to make a drug for the treatment of elephantiasis at its manufacturing facility in Nasik and its South African plant, a top company executive said. GSK makes albendazole, the drug used by 120 million people across the world, at its production units in Nasik and Cape Town.
The two units have a combined capacity to produce 600 million units per annum of the drug, all of which is donated by the company to global health organisations. The firm now intends to increase this to 1 billion units annually.
"Shipments of the new donations are expected to start in late 2011," said Andrew Witty , CEO at GSK. The cost of making these drugs will be about £12 million (`85 crore) a year.
The company’s plant in Nasik, to make 300 million units of the medicine annually was inaugurated in March this year. This plant is operated by GSK’s public listed Indian subsidiary GSK Pharmaceuticals .
The additional global capacity to make the medicine will support the World Health Organisation (WHO) project to eliminate the elephantiasis–causing infection lymphatic filariasis through universal coverage.
Lymphatic filariasis, often called elephantiasis, is a parasitic infection that causes disfigurement and painful swelling of limbs, breasts and genitals. It risks the lives of about 1.3 billion people – one–third of them in India – in many poor countries.
In a global media teleconference Mr Witty said about 11,000 people have been vaccinated by GSK’s under trial malaria vaccine during its last phase of human studies and the final clinical data is expected by the end of the year or early 2011.