Sterling Pharma kicks off hydroxychloroquine production

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/BartekSzweczyk)
(Image: Getty/BartekSzweczyk)

Related tags COVID-19 Coronavirus Drug substances Manufacturing

The British CDMO will manufacture the API for the potential COVID-19 treatment, and partner Accord Healthcare will manufacture the finished product.

To date, the UK’s supply of hydroxychloroquine (HQC; a drug being touted and tested as a possible treatment for the virus) is sourced from overseas companies. According to contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Sterling Pharma Solutions, the deal with Accord Healthcare will increase access for British patients, should it prove to be an effective therapy.

According to Sterling Pharma Solutions CEO Kevin Cook, establishing a UK source for the now-investigational drug will be helpful to British patients in the event it takes off as a treatment for COVID-19.

While it is currently unclear whether HCQ will be a viable treatment for COVID-19, it is vital to proactively establish a strong supply route ahead of time​,” Cook said. “Rapid response to a rapidly changing landscape has been key here. We have worked quickly alongside Accord Healthcare to establish a UK supply chain for this product​.”

Cook points out while the drug has yet to be approved as an effective treatment for COVID-19, it is important for the industry to be at the ready.

HCQ could potentially provide an effective treatment for COVID patients and during such an unprecedented time it’s important that the pharmaceutical industry works flexibly to achieve maximum results as quickly as possible and this partnership is a good example of that,​” he explained

To date, Sterling Pharma Solutions has already provided to Accord Healthcare more than 55 US tons (50 tonnes) of raw materials, roughly enough to delivery 60m finished HCQ tablets. Accord reportedly plans to supply up to 50m HCQ tablets monthly and has already ramped up production at its Barnstable, UK facility.

Since the early days of COVID-19’s global rampage, pharma companies have shown increase interest in the investigational drug. In March, companies like Novartis, Bayer and Teva​ announced they would be donating millions of doses of HCQ to help aid the fight against the virus.

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