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Discovery & Development Clinical Trials, Small Molecules

Pandemic Protection

This article was published in our sister publication, The Small Molecule Manufacturer, which celebrates the field of small molecule drug development and manufacturing with interviews and articles focusing on success stories, equipment, and new processing techniques. Read more about The Small Molecule Manufacturer here.

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical’s anti-influenza drug Avigan (favipiravir) has met its primary endpoint in a phase III trial in Japan for COVID-19, including time to negative conversion of detectable SARS-CoV 2 viral RNA in RT-PCR assays, and alleviating symptoms (body temperature, oxygen saturation, and chest images) (1). The company intends to conduct a detailed analysis of the results and potentially file an Application for Partial Changes in Japan. Avigan has been approved for manufacture and sale in Japan for influenza since 2014, but is only used when there is an outbreak of a novel or re-emerging influenza infections where other antiviral drugs are ineffective.

The drug is currently being tested in COVID-19 trials in other countries, with researchers at the KU Leuven Rega Institute recently reporting that a high dose of the API had a potent effect against SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters (2).

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  1. Fujifilm, “Anti-influenza drug Avigan Tablet Meets Primary Endpoint in Phase III Clinical Trial in Japan for COVID-19 patients,” (2020). Available at https://bit.ly/3nHBrIe.
  2. SJF Kaptein et al., PNAS (2020).

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