Novartis, Roche team up on COVID pneumonia drug

Novartis announced Thursday it will join forces with fellow Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche to produce tocilizumab, a drug being tested for its effectiveness against COVID-19-linked pneumonia.

VOV, VOVworld, Norvatis, Roche, COVID-19, vaccine, pneumonia, Norvatis, Roche, COVID-19, vaccine, pneumoniaNovartis' headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. (VOV: AFP/VNA)

Novartis is already collaborating with BioNTech and CureVac in producing COVID-19 vaccines. The new tocilizumab deal will see Roche's manufacturing expertise transferred to the Novartis Drug Substance Singapore production site during the second quarter of 2021.

Sold as Actemra or RoActemra depending on the market, tocilizumab is a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis which is also being tested in clinical trials investigating its safety and efficacy against COVID-19-associated pneumonia. The injected treatment has suffered several setbacks in clinical trials. However, a large British study published in February reported encouraging results, particularly in reducing the risk of death.
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