Glenmark Pharmaceuticals shares rose almost 9 per cent on Thursday after the drug maker received 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 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.
The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI), the country's drug regulator, did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment.
On Wednesday, another pharmaceutical company, Strides Pharma Science, said it had developed and commercialized favipiravir antiviral tablets, and had applied to Indian drug authorities to start trials.
Shares Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, which rose as much as 8.9 per cent to Rs 359 ($4.78), traded up 5.9 per cent at 9:37 am.
($1 = Rs 75.1200)