Business

Fujifilm ties up with Indian firm on potential COVID-19 drug Avigan

Kyodo

Fujifilm Corp. said Wednesday it has signed an agreement with an Indian pharmaceutical company and a company that provides global medical supplies, granting them exclusive rights to develop, produce and sell its potential COVID-19 treatment drug Avigan overseas.

Under the tripartite agreement with India’s Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. and Dubai-based Global Response Aid signed Tuesday, Fujifilm will receive a lump-sum license fee and royalties on sales of Avigan, also known as favipiravir, currently undergoing clinical testing as a possible coronavirus treatment drug in Japan.

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., the Fujifilm subsidiary that developed Avigan, will provide the two companies with data accumulated so far on preclinical and clinical studies of the drug.

They “will make use of this data to swiftly implement clinical studies, targeting COVID-19 patients in India, the Middle East and other regions where infections have been spreading,” Fujifilm said in a statement.

The license agreement excludes rights to sell Avigan in China and Russia, it said.

Fujifilm also said it will grant Dr. Reddy’s the right to use Avigan production patents so that the Indian drugmaker can supply GRA’s global sales network swiftly and stably.

Avigan has yet to be approved by the Japanese government for COVID-19 treatment, with clinical testing delayed due to insufficient enrollment.

The Japanese government gave up on its target for approval of the drug in May after an interim analysis of an Avigan clinical study, being conducted by a team led by Fujita Health University, did not show clear efficacy in treating the disease.

As Avigan can inhibit the replication of the novel coronavirus in cells, experts say it may bring about improvements in infected patients.

Avigan, which has been stockpiled by the government as an anti-flu drug, cannot be administered to expectant mothers or women who are likely to become pregnant as it may cause birth defects.

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