India's Dr.Reddy's ends study of COVID-19 drug Avigan in Kuwait

Tablets of Avigan, a drug approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan and developed by drug maker Toyama Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Co. are displayed during a photo opportunity at Fujifilm's headquarters in Tokyo October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Files

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian drugmaker Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories said on Wednesday it had terminated its clinical study of Fujifilm Holdings’ COVID-19 treatment Avigan in patients with moderate to severe symptoms in Kuwait.

Data from the Kuwait trial, conducted in partnership with United Arab Emirates-based medical alliance Global Response Aid FZCO (GRA), showed that the difference in time taken by Avigan and placebo to resolve a sustained absence of oxygen in the tissues was not significant enough to continue the trial. (

Fujifilm, Dr.Reddy’s and GRA had entered into a deal in July to sell Avigan globally excluding Japan, China and Russia.

Avigan was approved as an anti-flu drug in Japan in 2014, and Fujifilm has been seeking approval for the drug as a treatment for COVID-19 since October.

The Japanese Health Ministry’s medical review board last month concluded that clinical trial data to determine Avigan’s efficacy for COVID-19 was inconclusive.

Dr.Reddy’s, in partnership with GRA and Canada’s Appili Therapeutics, will continue a late-stage North American trial of Avigan in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms.

Several Indian drugmakers, such as Cipla, Lupin and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, offer their own generic versions of Avigan to treat COVID-19.

India, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, is in the middle of its first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations and has vaccinated nearly 2 million healthcare workers as of Monday.

Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel