Strides Pharma Science has developed and started exporting a generic version of Fujifilm’s flu antiviral Avigan (favipiravir), which has shown promise in treating patients with COVID-19, the Indian pharma company said on Wednesday.
Strides said it has begun shipment of tablets in 400mg and 200mg doses to three unnamed Gulf Cooperation Council countries to treat patients under their COVID-19 treatment programme, making it the first Indian company to begin exports of the medicine.
The drug is being manufactured at Strides’ main facility in Bangalore, India, which can produce up to 6 billion units of solid orals per year.
To boost supply, Strides has also entered into a preferred arrangement with an Indian active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturer with capabilities to manufacture the favipiravir API from its key starting material in-house.
In a statement, Strides CEO Dr R Ananthanarayanan, said favipiravir had already demonstrated positive outcomes in several studies on COVID-19 patients.
“Favipiravir is a complex drug to make, while we are manufacturing the tablets in-house, we are also excited to partner with the API manufacturer such that our supply chain remains secured up to the key starting material,” he added.
Strides said it would immediately apply to Indian drug regulatory authorities to begin necessary studies and make the drug available domestically.
In February, following the novel coronavirus outbreak, favipiravir was studied in China and several other countries as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 and demonstrated a reduction in the duration of the disease and improved lung conditions in patients.