BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian pharmaceutical company Strides Pharma Science Ltd said on Thursday it has got regulatory approval to conduct clinical trials of antiviral drug favipiravir, considered a potential treatment for COVID-19.
The Bengaluru-based company has received approval from the Drug Controller General of India to conduct trials of favipiravir in the country, Strides Founder and Non-Executive Chairman Arun Kumar said on a post-earnings conference call, without giving any more details.
Strides’ announcement comes after Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd said last month it became the first pharma company in the country to get the nod to conduct favipiravir trials. The Mumbai-based company has initiated late-stage clinical trials and expects study results by July or August.
Favipiravir is manufactured under the brand name Avigan by a unit of Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp and was approved for use as an anti-flu drug in the country in 2014.
However, on Wednesday, Kyodo News reported that so far there has been no clear evidence of efficacy for Avigan in treating the novel coronavirus in some clinical trials.
Strides late on Wednesday posted a fourth-quarter consolidated net loss of 2.07 billion rupees ($27.35 million), as it booked a 1.13 billion rupees write down of inventory and other expenses related to withdrawal of ranitidine products.
The company’s shares rose as much as 5.3% to a two-week high in early trade, but pared some gains and were last up 1.8% at 0430 GMT.
Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Shounak Dasgupta