Aurobindo Pharma was founded in 1986 by P V Ramprasad Reddy and K Nithyananda Reddy with a single unit, manufacturing semi-synthetic penicillin at Pondicherry, India.
Since then, Aurobindo has become one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies with 25 manufacturing facilities and over 23,000+ employees worldwide.
Aurobindo is present in over 150+ countries, with a global revenue in the 2023 financial year of US$ 3.1 billion. Aurobindo is the number one generic pharma company in the United States (by prescriptions dispensed) and one of the top 10 generic companies in several countries in Europe. Furthermore, Aurobindo is ranked among the top 50 companies in the world. Aurobindo has been a major contributor to global HIV programs as a leading manufacturer and supplier of HIV products.
K Nithyananda Reddy, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Founder of Aurobindo described the company’s journey.
Can you explain Aurobindo’s vision and your strategies for rapid growth? How could you make your products so affordable?
We believe in ‘One World, One Quality’. We set out to develop many molecules by creating a strong R&D infrastructure with highly qualified scientists, currently more than 1500, which has grown to nine centers across United States and India. We invested in both chemical and formulation R&D to build a vertically integrated organization. This helped us become self-reliant, with over 65 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients being manufactured in-house.
In the financial year 2022-23, we manufactured approximatively 41 billion dosages. Operating at this kind of scale gives us cost advantages, which we pass on to make the product affordable.
As a strategic partner, how has collaboration with some of these multilateral agencies like Medicine Patent Pool (MPP) worked for you, and how has it benefited the patients?
We work closely with innovators and MPP to develop affordable next-generation antiretroviral (ARV) generic combinations through voluntary licensing. In 2010, we were the first company to sign the license agreement for Tenofovir. The role of MPP has been very important since its formation and has become increasingly critical in recent years, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MPP has been instrumental in licensing out molecules of several innovators like Gilead, Merck, Viiv to many generic companies across the globe.
We have been very fortunate to work very closely with MPP on these projects, and as a major generic player, we needed to expedite our approval process, allowing these molecules to reach patients faster. Now we are also working with MPP for the new molecule, Cabotegravir Long Acting for the prevention of AIDS. We are excited to collaborate closely with the innovator and MPP to develop these new molecules as quickly as possible, so it is an option for the general population who are at risk of HIV.
I am sure with this kind of partnership, we will achieve the UNAIDS objective of 95-95-95 by 2030.
We are very happy for MPP to expand their portfolio from HIV to other segments. We are glad that Nilotinib has been sublicensed from Novartis to generics and we are looking forward to working in that space as well.
Can you please explain to us the kind of support you have rendered to the HIV space, based on these collaborations?
We started our ARV journey two decades ago, when the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief started in the financial year 2002-2003. Ever since, we have been a partner to all these agencies. We have been very flexible in our approach, and we have not shied away from investing in manufacturing facilities and scaling up operations to ensure all HIV patients are treated on a regular basis without running out of supplies. We have also increased capacities, so that as the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) increases year after year, we can support the entire HIV community as a whole.
We are very proud that we were the first to launch Dolutegravir and the generic HIV combination TLD. We are grateful to the innovator, Viiv, as well as other stakeholders who assisted in the development and commercialization of these products. As a result, more than 22 million patients have been benefited so far from the molecule Dolutegravir and it is growing. We have already supplied lifesaving ARVs to more than three million PLHIV and children living with HIV in more than 125 countries.
We will continue our journey in the HIV space and are committed to working closely with MPP and other agencies such as WHO to ensure the 2030 UNAIDS objectives are achieved and the HIV epidemic is brought to an end for the sake of the world’s wellbeing.