Japan-based Fujifilm has partnered with Indian pharmaceutical firm Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Global Response Aid (GRA) in Dubai to enable international access to Avigan (favipiravir) as a potential Covid-19 treatment.

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical entered into a tripartite licensing agreement with Dr Reddy’s and GRA for the development, manufacture and sales of Avigan tablets.

Under the agreement, Dr Reddy’s and GRA gain exclusive right to develop, manufacture and sell the drug overseas, excluding China and Russia. Only Dr Reddy’s secured the manufacturing rights.

In turn, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical will receive a licence fee and sales royalties.

Fujifilm will provide its partners with a set of data on Avigan’s preclinical and clinical studies that the company has gathered to date.

The partners will leverage the data to launch clinical studies in Covid-19 patients in India and the Middle East, among other regions.

Furthermore, Fujifilm will grant Dr Reddy’s the right to use Avigan’s formulation and manufacturing method patents.

Dr Reddy’s intends to build a setup to manufacture drugs of the same quality as Avigan, and leverage GRA’s global sales network to supply these drugs quickly.

Avigan holds approval for manufacture and sale in Japan as an anti-influenza drug. The drug’s ability to selectively block viral RNA polymerase and prevent viral proliferation is expected to help treat Covid-19.

Currently, Fujifilm is assessing Avigan in Covid-19 patients in Japan and the US. The company is also working to boost production via collaborations with domestic and international companies.

In a statement, Fujifilm said: “In urgent need of treatment drug while COVID-19 remains a serious concern, the Fujifilm group will accelerate the development and supply for global deployment of Avigan by partnering with Dr Reddy’s and GRA.

“The Fujifilm Group will contribute to ending the pandemic by delivering a treatment drug as soon as possible to patients suffering from Covid-19.”

In India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals already secured regulatory approval for the manufacturing and marketing of generic favipiravir under the brand name FabiFlu to treat mild to moderate Covid-19.