By Economic Times – Strides Pharma awaiting govt nod for Favipiravir, says CEO R Ananthanarayanan “Our focus is ensuring that we are able to get approvals for all the necessary studies and data in India. We will be able to provide the drug once the Indian approvals come through. This is our main bottleneck now,” said R Ananthanarayanan.Last Updated: Apr 30, 2020, 08.37 AM ISTAgenciesStrides Pharma’s CEO R AnanthanarayananBengaluru-based Strides Pharma Science said it has started exports of Favipiravir, which has shown to be effective in reducing recovery time in Covid-19 patients. In an interview with Divya Rajagopal, Strides Pharma’s CEO R Ananthanarayanan, shared the company’s plan for the drug’s India launch and the other medicines being developed for Covid-19. Edited excerpts:

Which countries have prescribed this drug ?
It started getting used in Japan. They used it in China too. The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries reached out to us early on through their treatment regimen programme.

What about India supply?
Our focus is ensuring that we are able to get approvals for all the necessary studies and data in India. We will be able to provide the drug once the Indian approvals come through. This is our main bottleneck now.

Would you be looking for fast-track approval?
We are hoping that happens, and we are working closely with the drug regulator. Data applications are being put together to send across to them, including the global data. We are confident we will get the approval as the government task force has given this drug favourable rating along with Tocilizumab.

What kind of clinical trial protocol would you need in India?
We are working with regulators to use the product on patients based on data from Japan and China, and parallelly generate data for India, as every single patient who gets cured faster will make a big difference for the country.

Will this drug be given to people with mild to severe symptoms?
We don’t know if it is for mild symptoms yet, but moderate, definitely. The drug breaks the genome sequence in the middle part where the virus proliferation happens. When this happens the recovery is faster. In moderate conditions this has shown good results.

Any other drugs that you are working on for Covid-19? What about Remdesivir?
We are continuing to evaluate this landscape, so yes, we are looking at other products. Is Remdesivir something that we looked at as part of our ARV programme? The answer is, yes. The government might have to look at something like compulsory licensing for the drug, but it is too early to talk about that. When the hurdle and bridge needs to be crossed, it can be crossed then.
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