Roche nears deal to partner on Tamiflu

Roche is close to signing a deal that would allow 15 drug makers to start producing its hotly sought after Tamiflu anti-viral medication. The deal would include Mylan and Teva, two of the world's biggest generic drug makers. The deal was prematurely heralded by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who said an agreement had been reached. But Roche said only that it is in "advanced discussions." Roche itself plans to ramp up production to supply enough Tamiflu for 300 million people each year by the year 2007. The US, which has 4.3 million doses of Tamiflu but has plans to stockpile more than 80 million doses, would be one of many countries clamoring for the drug. Tamiflu has shown an effect in fighting off the lethal H5N1 flu virus, though researchers are also quick to note that it would take a mutation to trigger a human pandemic of avian flu, which could be completely immune to Tamiflu.

- read this report from The Washington Post for more