Date: 06-Apr-2020

Two Mumbai Companies Step Up Work On COVID-19 Drug Helping In Recovery

Mumbai: Two Indian drug makers are stepping up efforts to develop antiviral molecule Favipiravir, a drug that has shown to help in the recovery of Covid-19 patients in a trial conducted in China.

Mumbai-based BDR Pharma, which makes anti-HIV and Hepatitis C medication, and LASA Supergenerics, an active pharmaceutical ingredient maker, are betting that the drug works.

“We took a shot on the Favipiravir drug as there is no patent that binds us in discovering its efficacy. Also, the initial data seems promising,” Dharmesh Shah, chairman of BDR Pharma, told ET. While BDR has started lab work to get the initial samples out, it has several hurdles to cross before the product hits the market, the biggest being getting the actual reference product shipped from China.

LASA Supergenerics, which is working with the Institute of Chemical Technology, is similarly stuck. CEO Omkar Herlekar has written to many government authorities and has tweeted about his grievances in getting clearances for his consignment, which has been stuck for 10 days in transit. “Most South Asian companies are administering this drug for their Covid-19 patients. This drug doesn’t even have much side-effects, unlike other antivirals,” Herlekar told ET.

Lasa has asked the Indian Council of Medical Research to consider the efficacy of the drug and recommend fast-track approval for importing the raw material and manufacturing the drug.