GlaxoSmithKline has granted a voluntary licence to Cosmos Limited for the manufacture and sale of an

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has granted a voluntary licence under its patents to Cosmos Limited, a Kenyan pharmaceutical company, for the manufacture and sale of antiretrovirals (ARVs) containing zidovudine and/or lamivudine in the public and private sectors in Kenya and other countries in East Africa.

GlaxoSmithKline currently sells zidovudine (sold as Retrovir?), lamivudine (sold as Epivir?) and the combination of the two molecules (sold as Combivir?) across the region.

Cosmos produces quality drugs on the WHO essential drugs list to meet the healthcare challenges in Kenya and throughout the region. Under the terms of the agreement Cosmos is granted the right to manufacture and distribute ARVs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Cosmos will obtain all appropriate health registrations, permissions, consent and regulatory authorisations relating to the manufacture and sale of the product. As a major supplier of essential drugs to various medical institutions, Cosmos is well placed to provide ARVs in the region.

To facilitate the distribution of reduced-price product in relation to this voluntary licence, Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, which has a Master Licence agreement with GSK, has agreed to waive or reduce its rights to royalty payments from GSK for products containing lamivudine.

The licence which is the subject of today's announcement is GlaxoSmithKline's fourth voluntary licence granted to African generics companies for the sale of some of its antiretrovirals in Africa. The other three licences which cover Sub-Saharan Africa were granted to Feza Pharmaceuticals, Aspen Pharmacare and Thembalami Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited.

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