publication date: Oct 22, 2020
author/source: Richard Daverman, PhD
Carelink, a Shanghai pharma founded in 2018, acquired China rights from Japan's FujiFilm for Avigan® Tablets (favipiravir), a flu drug, to treat COVID-19. Favipiravir is approved in several markets for the coronavirus, though not in the US or EU. Carelink will use FujiFilm's nonclinical and clinical data on Avigan for flu and COVID-19 as the basis for China approval of the drug. The two companies will also work together to develop an injectable form of Avigan.
China has clinical trials already underway that test favipiravir other companies in patients with COVID-19.
In Japan, Avigan is approved to treat flu. It inhibits RNA polymerase, which is necessary for flu virus replication. Because of its mechanism, it is also a candidate for the coronavirus. FujiFilm conducted a Phase III clinical trial in Japan in March for COVID-19 patients with non-serious pneumonia that showed efficacy and safety. FujiFilm filed for Japanese approval of Avigan as a COVID-19 treatment last month.
Carelink says it has built a staff with experience in Asian and western markets to develop new drugs for China as well as the rest of the world. Because of the coronavirus, the company has expanded its focus to include infectious diseases as well as lifestyle diseases. Most of its business activity has been partnerships with western pharmas to bring drugs to China.
See our other articles on FujiFilm.