Shares of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd rose almost 9% on Thursday after the Indian drugmaker got an approval to conduct clinical trials with antiviral drug favipiravir, seen as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Favipiravir, manufactured under the brand name Avigan by a unit of Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T) and approved for use as an anti-flu drug in the Asian island country in 2014, has been effective, with no obvious side-effects, in helping coronavirus patients recover, a Chinese official told reporters at a news conference last month.
"After having successfully developed the API and the formulations … Glenmark is all geared to immediately begin clinical trials on favipiravir on COVID-19 patients in India," Sushrut Kulkarni, executive vice-president for Global R&D, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement.
The Drug Controller General of India, the country’s drug regulator, did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment.
On Wednesday, another Indian pharmaceutical company, Strides Pharma Science Ltd (SRID.NS), said it had developed and commercialized favipiravir antiviral tablets, and had applied to Indian drug authorities to start trials.