TOKYO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Fujifilm Holdings Corp
said on Friday it was seeking approval for its flu drug Avigan
as a treatment for COVID-19 in Japan, a move that comes after a
late-stage study showed reduced recovery time for patients with
Shares of the company closed roughly 3% higher on the news.
The Nikkei newspaper last month cited https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Japanese-approval-sought-for-Avigan-to-treat-COVID-19
ministry sources saying approval could be granted to the drug
within a month of its application.
Japan has already approved Avigan, known generically as
favipiravir, as an emergency flu medicine, which is the subject
of at least 16 clinical trials around the world. But concerns
remain, as the drug has been shown to cause birth defects in
Japan's government has called on Fujifilm to triple national
stockpiles of the drug. The company said in a statement it has
been working with strategic partners to meet that goal and
requests by other countries to supply the drug.
Fujifilm in July signed a deal with India's Dr Reddy's
Laboratories and Dubai-based Global Response Aid to
sell Avigan for COVID-19 globally, excluding in China, Japan and
The drug, known generically worldwide as favipiravir, has
been approved in India and Russia to treat COVID-19.
Last month, Fujifilm said the late-stage study of 156
COVID-19 patients in Japan showed that symptoms of those treated
with Avigan improved after 11.9 days, versus 14.7 days for a
Results of the study, conducted by subsidiary Fujifilm
Toyama Chemical, were found to be statistically significant.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by
Stephen Coates, Edwina Gibbs and Shinjini Ganguli)