Glenmark has secured Indian regulatory approval for the study, which will aim to enroll 158 inpatients with moderate COVID-19, the company said.
Drug manufacturers around the world have rushed to develop a treatment or vaccine for the new coronavirus that has infected 5.5 million people worldwide and killed more than 345,000, according to a Reuters context. In India, now among the 10 most affected nations, the death toll reached 4,167 on Tuesday.
Favipiravir is made below brand name Avigan of Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. and was approved for use as an anti-influenza drug there in 2014, while umifenovir is licensed as a treatment for some types of influenza infections in Russia and China.
Japan said Tuesday that Fujifilm will continue its research on Avigan into June, effectively hoping the drug will be approved as a COVID-19 treatment this month.
Glenmark is also conducting clinical trials in India with just favipiravir as a potential COVID-19 treatment, which it expects results by July or August. Favipiravir is also undergoing trials in other countries.
“The two antiviral drugs have different mechanisms of action and their combination may show improved treatment efficacy,” the Mumbai headquarters said.
Glenmark did not respond to an email requesting more details about the trials. Its shares ended 1.1% lower on Tuesday.
Another Indian drug manufacturer – Strides Pharma – is also to begin clinical trials with favipiravir as a potential COVID-19 treatment.
Shares in Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers have been in tatters this year. India’s Nifty pharmaceutical index has risen 18% this year compared to a 26% image in the blue chip NSE Nifty 50.