2020-03-04| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Weekly Cover: Taiwan Synthesizes Potential COVID-19 Treatment Favilavir

by GeneOnline
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By Ching-Hsu Yang, Ph.D. Candidate

1. Taiwan’s DCB Synthesizes Potential COVID-19 Treatment Favilavir

As coronavirus cases continue to expand unstoppably around the globe, the focus is on discovering a vaccine. Taiwan and China recently made great progress in this field and have good news to share.

The Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB) announced on Monday (March 2) that the organization has completed the synthesis of favilavir, an experimental medication being used in Japan and China to combat COVID-19. The center plans to work closely with local pharmaceutical companies that hold Current Good Manufacturing Practice certification from the Food and Drug Administration, to supply favilavir with Taiwan.

About Favilavir
Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Company developed the anti-viral medication favilavir and approved for the Japanese market in March 2014. Favilavir is widely used to treat people who showed resistance to Tamiflu and Relenza, to treat and prevent influenza A and B infections.

China Approves Favipiravir (Avigan) as an Experimental Treatment to Treat Coronavirus.

China authorities recently narrowed down Favipiravir as one of the three drugs showing efficacy against COVID-19 in ongoing human trials. Recently, China local media reported that Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical’s antiviral drug Favilavir (Favipiravir) has been approved as an investigational therapy to treat the coronavirus.
Initial media revealed that the drug has secured regulatory approval as a medication for coronavirus. However, new reports say the firm has been approved for a clinical trial to test Favilavir in patients with Covid-19.

About Hisun Pharmaceutical
Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical produces and develops pharmaceutical products. The company manufactures anticancer drugs, cardiovascular drugs, antiparasites, and anti-infective products. Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical also offers services related to pharmaceutical solutions.

2. Takeda Acquires PvP Biologics Following Trial of TAK-062 (Kuma062) for the Treatment of Celiac Disease

-Investigational medicine TAK-062 is a highly potent, best-in-class oral super glutenase designed to improve gluten digestion.

On February 26, 2020, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. announced that it has acquired U.S.-based PvP Biologics, Inc., following the conclusion of a Phase 1 proof-of-mechanism study of investigational medicine TAK-062 (Kuma062), for the treatment of uncontrolled celiac disease. The Phase 1 study examined the safety and tolerability of TAK-062 in both healthy volunteers and those suffering from celiac disease. TAK-062 has been tested in healthy volunteers for the ability to degrade ingested gluten. Takeda plans to apply Phase 1 study data for presentation at a scientific congress to be held soon.

About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered when its sufferer intakes gluten, due to small intestinal mucosal damage.

About Takeda
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan that focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: oncology, gastroenterology, rare diseases and neuroscience. The Company produces targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines by leveraging enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline.
For more information, please visit

3. Eisai and FUJI YAKUHIN Conclude License Agreement of Dotinurad in China

Hyperuricemia ranks second among the most common metabolic disorders in China following diabetes mellitus. It is widely recognized that hyperuricemia is associated with various diseases in the human body, such as the endocrine system, causing gout. In addition, it is estimated that the number of hyperuricemia patients currently in China is about 190 million, and the number of gout patients is around 16 million.
Owing to changes in lifestyle and dietary preferences in line with socioeconomic growth in China, the number of patients may increase further in the near future.
On 25 February, Eisai Co., Ltd. and FUJI YAKUHIN CO., LTD. (FUJI) announced that the two firms have stepped into a licensing agreement for dotinurad, a hyperuricemia and gout treatment discovered by FUJI, for manufacture and distribution in China. As per the deal, FUJI will obtain exclusive dotinurad development and marketing rights in China from Eisai. FUJI will hold responsibility for developing dotinurad formulae and providing Eisai with it. Eisai will be responsible for a New Drug Application (NDA) for dotinurad in China, FUJI will receive an upfront payment, development milestones and sales royalties from commercialization in China.

About Dotinurad
Dotinurad is a new potential therapeutic drug for gout and hyperuricemia, discovered by FUJI YAKUHIN. Dotinurad suppresses reabsorption of uric acid and reduces blood uric acid levels by selectively inhibiting urate transporter (URAT1) associated with reabsorption of uric acid in the kidney.

About Eisai
Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. The firm places oncology as a key area of treatment and seeks to develop revolutionary new therapies with the ability to cure cancer.

Japanese complex pharmaceutical company FUJI YAKUHIN CO.,LTD. is located in SAITAMA, Japan and is part of the countrys’ Drug Stores Industry.

4. China Declares that it Produced a Vaccine for African Swine Fever

African swine fever virus (ASFV), a deadly animal virus, reached the European Union (EU) in 2014 and continues to spread voraciously in Asia. In early 2020, the US government and academic experts developed a vaccine against ASFV and proved it highly effective, yet, it’s still years away from being available to farmers. Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (HVRI), China’s top animal disease research organization, has generated a vaccine against ASFV and has been shown to be safe and effective through laboratory testing.

More About African swine fever virus (ASFV)
The disease first broke out in China, 2018. Since then, hog herds in the country have fallen by nearly half. Global researchers are advancing considerably to develop the world’s first African swine fever vaccine.

5. Oxford Nanopore Licenses NuProbe Sample Prep Technology

NuProbe Global, a global molecular diagnostics company based in Shanghai, China and Houston, TX, announced on February 27 that the company has signed an agreement with UK-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies, for its proprietary blocker displacement amplification (BDA) technology.
According to the Companies, the BDA technology selectively amplifies small-abundance sequence variants in a wild-type DNA context and can be combined with nanopore sequencing to offer greater sensitivities for somatic mutation detection and measurement.
Oxford Nanopore will apply the BDA technology as part of its efforts to expand the use of nanopore sequencing in cancer research. The companies have also agreed to develop software to assist researchers in designing BDA-based panels that can analyze somatic mutations and gene fusions from tumor tissue and blood, as well as scale up their workflows for high-throughput applications.

About NuProbe Global
NuProbe is a biotech company founded in 2016 by world-class scientists, initially building on multiple technologies licensed exclusively from Harvard University and Rice University, and funded by prominent institutional investors such as Sequoia Capital China.

About Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies Limited is a UK-based company focused on the development and sales of nanopore sequencing products, including portable DNA sequencer, MinION.




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