Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group announced here Monday it has reached a sublicensing deal with the Swiss Roche for the production of Tamiflu, a drug widely believed to be effective in treating human cases of bird flu, in China.
Roche also made an announcement at its website Monday, saying "Roche and Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group have signed the first sub-licensing agreement for the overall production of oseltamivir for pandemic use in China."
The brand name of oseltamivir is Tamiflu. Jointly developed by Gilead and Roche, the drug has been recommended by the World Health Organization in treating human cases of the bird flu.
Roche has exclusive world-wide rights for the manufacturing and marketing of Tamiflu and continues to work in partnership with Gilead, according to Roche.
The announcement said Roche is also "in negotiations for local partnerships in other countries."
An official with the Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group said its products will not bear the name of "Tamiflu", but the ingredients and quality will be the same with Tamiflu produced by Roche.
He said the group aims to form a monthly production capacity of 200,000 treatments in six months in the first step.
According to the official, the group made the request to produce and sell Tamiflu under a sub-license in November.