Glenmark Pharmaceuticals shares surged as much as 9 per cent to hit an intraday high of Rs 359 on the BSE after the company informed stock exchanges that it has received an approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct clinical trials for a potential drug to treat patients with COVID-19.
The Mumbai-based drug maker said that it has received approval for to conduct clinical trials in India on Favipiravir Antiviral tablet. The company has developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the formulations for the product through its in-house R&D team, Glenmark said in a press release.
"The product is a generic version of Avigan of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd., Japan, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation," Glenmark said.
Glemark said the approval made it the first pharmaceutical company in India to be given the go-ahead to start trials on COVID-19 patients in the country.
"After having successfully developed the API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) 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.
Drugmakers across the world have been rushing to develop a treatment or vaccine for the fast-spreading coronavirus that has killed over 220,000 people and ravaged financial markets.
Early clinical trial results on Wednesday from Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir showed it helped patients recover more quickly from the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Glenmark will initially enroll 150 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in a randomized trial that will compare favipiravir with standard supportive care. The trial will last for a maximum of 28 days, it said.