Japan’s Fujifilm to increase supply of experimental Ebola drug
Fujifilm shares rose in Tokyo on Tuesday after it said it would increase its supply of an experimental Ebola drug to help stem the spread of the virus.
The firm’s shares ended 0.17 percent higher at 3,398.5 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after jumping more than four percent earlier in the day. The broader market tumbled 2.03 percent.
Fujifilm said late Monday it would increase its stock of Avigan, which has been given to several patients who were evacuated from Ebola-hit West Africa to Europe.
Fujifilm said it has enough Avigan tablets — approved as an influenza drug in Japan — to treat 20,000 people and enough of its active ingredient for 300,000 treatments.
The company did not say by how much it would increase its finished stock of the drug.
There is no licensed treatment for the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 4,500 in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases have also been reported in the United States and Spain.
The World Health Organization gave the green light in August for experimental treatments to be used in the outbreak, but there are limited stocks available.
Some research papers report that Avigan has been effective in testing with mice, the company said.
The governments of France and Guinea are planning to conduct clinical trials with Avigan in mid-November, it said.
“If this clinical trial shows the efficacy and safety of Avigan tablets as treatment (for the Ebola virus), Fujifilm is expected to receive requests to provide the products for large-scale clinical use,” it said.