Fujifilm Files Application for Avigan as COVID-19 Treatment in Japan

TOKYO – Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp., announced today that it has filed an application with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare seeking approval to market and manufacture Avigan as a new coronavirus treatment in Japan.

This came after a completed phase III clinical trial, which began in March, showed Avigan can shorten recovery time for patients with non-severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Fujifilm reported that of 156 patients, those treated with Avigan improved after 11.9 days compared with 14.7 days for patients who received a placebo, and that no new safety concerns were identified in the trial.

“To meet the requests of the Japanese government to increase stockpiles of Avigan, and by other countries to supply the drug, the Fujifilm Group has been working to increase production of the drug in collaboration with strategic partners both inside and outside Japan,” Fujifilm said in a statement.

“The Fujifilm Group will work to deliver the treatment drug to COVID-19 patients as soon as possible, and contribute to ending the spread of COVID-19,” it added.

Avigan, also known as favipiravir, was approved for manufacture and sale in Japan in 2014 as an influenza antiviral drug. It specifically blocks RNA polymerase associated with influenza viral replication. This mechanism is expected to have an antiviral effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

It was reported to cause birth defects in animal studies. - Florenda Corpuz

(Photograph courtesy of ©FUJIFILM Corporation)