Róbert was a guest of Kastljós tonight.
Róbert says that the decision of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer not to conduct a fourth phase study on the effectiveness of its coronavirus vaccine in Iceland would not have come as a surprise. If such an attempt had been made, it would have had to happen sooner. Now that Iceland has agreed on the delivery of vaccines through the EU, it is difficult to try to shorten its path in the queue now. Pfizer’s benefits from the study would have been limited.
Róbert says it is unlikely that Iceland will be able to exit the European vaccine co-operation. “Iceland is a small nation, Pfizer is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world and care must be taken not to take precedence over one another. I think it’s too late. We just have to accept that there is a queue there. ”
We are in a situation we have not encountered before In Robert’s opinion, News of increased vaccine production changed the situation rapidly. Asked if he thinks that the Icelandic government has used Icelanders’ connections into the pharmaceutical sector well enough, Róbert replied that it was important to keep in mind that we were in a situation we had never encountered before. Iceland was a small market with little weight in an international context, all countries had interests to protect. “That little Iceland could have called our friend at Pfizer and got something sooner, I’m not sure,” says Róbert. “It was a great idea, but it should have come sooner, when there were more active infections in the country.”
Robert says that the future vision of Alvotech, which was formed this year 2012, had implied that from the year 2020 all the “big drugs” would be biotech drugs and that Alvotech would produce their analogue drugs when the patent expired. “But the downside is that they cost a lot more, not everyone can buy these drugs. In the United States, anti-rheumatic drugs can cost a person 50 – 100. 000 dollars a year. ”
First to get a license to produce the best-selling drugs in the world Alvotech has now, for the first time, a generic pharmaceutical company, has submitted for registration in the United States the generic drug of the biotech rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira. It is the best-selling drug in the world, in the United States sales of the drug 15 – 16 billion US dollars a year. Alvotech has also secured long-term collaboration agreements with various generic pharmaceutical companies around the world, including Asia, Australia, the United States and Europe. “So when we are ready to produce, the medicine will go on the market everywhere.”
The medicine will be produced in the company’s new premises in Vatnsmýri. Asked what it means in the financial context, Róbert says that Alvotech’s investments in Iceland amount to considerably more money than the cost of the new Landspítali. Today, Alvotech has seven generic drugs in development that are scheduled to be launched as soon as their patents expire.
It takes 7-8 years to develop each drug and costs us about 20 billions ISK. He says that if plans go according to plan, Alvotech’s production could become one of the key pillars of foreign exchange earnings over the years 2026 – ’27. In addition, the company can be expected to return billions of 000 – 20 in taxes and duties.