Fujifilm says tests results on Avigan as Ebola drug by end-2014
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 00:00
(Reuters) - Fujifilm Holdings Corp said it expects its influenza drug Avigan to be approved by international government bodies to treat Ebola after it receives clinical test results as early as the end of the year.
Fujifilm has been growing its pharmaceutical division through a series of mergers and acquisitions as its photography business wanes. In 2008, it bought Toyama Chemical Co, whose drug Avigan has been drafted to the global fight against Ebola.
Avigan, approved in Japan earlier this year to counter new forms of influenza, has been used in France, Germany, Spain and Norway to treat Ebola patients. Fujifilm had said its Avigan stockpile would be sufficient to treat 20,000 patients, and it has enough ingredients to make tablets to treat 300,000 people.
“So far, four Ebola patients have recovered after being treated with the drug,” Fujifilm Chairman and Chief executive Shigetaka Komori told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday.
France and Guinea plan to conduct clinical trials of Avigan 200 mg tablets in Guinea to treat Ebola this month.
The test results will likely come out as early as the end of the year and it will take about a month for the drug to be approved to treat Ebola, said Takatoshi Ishikawa, who heads the company’s pharmaceutical business.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is in Beijing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, said he is committed to helping fight the Ebola war.
“Ebola is a threat to international peace and stability. Japan will add up to $100 million in aid, on top of $40 million already announced,” Abe said in Beijing on Tuesday.