Fujifilm applies for approval of Avigan as COVID-19 treatment in Japan

Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung Hoon

Fujifilm Holdings Corp said on Friday it had applied for approval in Japan for its anti-influenza drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.

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TOKYO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Fujifilm Holdings Corp 4901.T said on Friday it had applied for approval in Japan for its anti-influenza drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.

The company said last month a late-stage study of Avigan had shown reduced recovery times for COVID-19 patients with non-severe symptoms and it would seek to file for approval as early as this month.

Shares in the company rose 3% on the news.

The late-stage study of 156 patients in Japan showed that 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.

Avigan, known generically as favipiravir, is approved in Japan as a flu medicine. It is now the subject of at least 16 clinical trials around the world but concerns remain about the drug as it has been shown to cause birth defects in animal studies.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had touted Avigan's potential as Japan's contribution to a global race.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Sayantani Ghosh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates)

((chris.gallagher@thomsonreuters.com;))

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