India’s Glenmark to conduct trials for potential COVID-19 drug, shares jump

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Shares of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd (GLEN.NS) rose almost 9% on Thursday after the Indian drugmaker got an approval to conduct clinical trials with antiviral drug favipiravir, seen as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Favipiravir, manufactured under the brand name Avigan by a unit of Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp (4901.T) and approved for use as an anti-flu drug in the Asian island country in 2014, has been effective, with no obvious side-effects, in helping coronavirus patients recover, a Chinese official told reporters at a news conference last month.

“After having successfully developed the API and the formulations … Glenmark is all geared to immediately begin clinical trials on favipiravir on COVID-19 patients in India,” Sushrut Kulkarni, executive vice-president for Global R&D, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement reut.rs/2VNF43h.

The Drug Controller General of India, the country’s drug regulator, did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment.

On Wednesday, another Indian pharmaceutical company, Strides Pharma Science Ltd (SRID.NS), said it had developed and commercialized favipiravir antiviral tablets, and had applied to Indian drug authorities to start trials.

Shares of Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, which rose as much as 8.9% to 359 rupees ($4.78), was trading up 5.9%, as of 0407 GMT.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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