Japan's Shionogi seeks approval for COVID-19 pill

FILE PHOTO: Passengers wearing protective face masks are seen inside a train, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Tokyo, Japan February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) -Drugmaker Shionogi & Co Ltd has applied for approval to make and sell its oral COVID-19 treatment in Japan, the firm said on Friday.

Known as S-217622, the drug would become the country’s third antiviral pill approved for coronavirus patients, following those developed by Pfizer Inc and Merck & Co.

In a statement, Shionogi said it was seeking conditional early approval of the drug after completing the Phase IIb part of a Phase II/III clinical trial in Japan and South Korea.

The study, involving 428 patients, reached its primary endpoint in reducing viral titres, but did not show a significant difference in reducing a measure of 12 COVID-19 symptoms.

This month, Chief Executive Isao Teshirogi said Shionogi could deliver enough doses for a million people by the end of March.

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