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Fujifilm partners Shanghai firm to seek China COVID-19 approval for Avigan

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Tablets of Avigan (generic name : Favipiravir), a drug approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan and developed by drug maker Toyama Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Co. are displayed during a photo opportunity in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp <4901.T> said on Thursday it has partnered with Shanghai-based Carelink Pharmaceutical Co to seek approval in China for Avigan to treat COVID-19 and influenza.

Carelink will use Fujifilm's data on Avigan's treatment of novel coronavirus infections and influenza to seek imported drug approval in China, Fujifilm said in a statement. The two companies also plan to develop an injectable form of the drug.

Fujifilm said last week it was seeking approval for Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19 in Japan. That followed results from a late-stage study in Japan that showed the antiviral drug reduced recovery time for patients with non-severe symptoms.

Avigan, originally developed as an emergency flu drug and known generically worldwide as favipiravir, has been approved in India and Russia to treat COVID-19.

Fujifilm sold global rights in July on Avigan to India's Dr Reddy's Laboratories <REDY.NS> and Dubai-based Global Response Aid. That deal excluded China, Japan and Russia.

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 placebo group.

Results of the study, conducted by subsidiary Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, were found to be statistically significant.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Muralikumar Anantharaman)