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Discovery & Development Clinical Trials, Small Molecules

Pandemic Protection

This article is part of our special focus on "traditional" pharma: The Small Molecule Manufacturer (read more here). You can find more articles from The Small 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
  2. SJF Kaptein et al., PNAS (2020).
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Stephanie Vine

Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent fourteen years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read.

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