Roche has said it is on track to manufacture 300 million doses of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) a year by 2007, which should help it meet the huge volume of orders for the influenza drug as countries around the world lay in supplies to combat a potential flu pandemic.

The company also said once again that has "entered into discussions with a number of interested parties to expand world-wide supply, so governments can be as prepared as possible for when the influenza pandemic happens.”

The number of third parties that have offered to produce the drug under license by the Swiss company has now risen to 150, it added, and official discussions have already taken place with eight possible outsourcing companies, as well as national governments [[03/11/05i]] [[02/11/05d]]. Roche said it is currently working on a shortlist of manufacturing partners so that more detailed negotiations can get underway in November.

Meanwhile, on Friday the government of Thailand said it planned to make its own generic version of Tamiflu and was already on track to start supplying the drug in February 2006. Roche has insisted that it will only consider outsourcing production under license, and will not look kindly on groups that make the drug in defiance of its patents. But the Thai government maintains Tamiflu has no patent protection in the country.

In a statement, the Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) said it would source the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used in Tamiflu from India. Last month, Indian drugmaker Cipla said it had developed a process for making oseltamivir and would start selling it in countries where patents are absent or difficult to enforce [[17/10/05a]].