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China's First Oral Drug for COVID-19 Approved

It took Genuine Biotech 10 days to go from releasing Phase III clinical data to obtaining approval for its Azvudine tablets. Many industry insiders say the market for China's first COVID-19 drug is likely to be insignificant.

Image Source: Visual China

Image Source: Visual China

BEIJING, July 16 (TMTPOST) – Genuine Biotech has received emergency conditional approval for its Azvudine tablets from China’s National Medical products Association (NMPA) for the treatment of adult patients suffering moderate Covid-19.

For a seven-day treatment of Azvudine, which is also used for treating HIV, the total charge is 910 yuan (about US$134). Paxlovid, the only rival of Azvudine in the Chinese market, would cost a patient 2,300 yuan (about US$340).  

Shortly after the approval of the drug, Fosun Pharmaceutical, owned by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, announced that it had reached an exclusive strategic partnership with Genuine Biotech on developing and commercializing Azvudine tablets.

Developed initially as a treatment for HIV, Genuine Biotech’s Azvudine tablets also obtained conditional approvals from the NMPA on July 20, 2021 for use in the treatment of HIV in adults in July last year.

Azvudine reported that 40% of people that took the Azvudine improved their COVID symptoms within seven days of taking the drug while, in the control group of unmedicated patients, just 10% of COVID symptoms improved, according to the Genuine Biotech's report.

“Covid-19 continues to mutate, causing pandemic resurgence across the globe. Vaccines and drug treatments remain to be powerful weapons for humans to combat viruses,” Fosun Pharmaceutical’s CEO Wen Deyong said. “Azvudine tablet is the first Covid-19 drug taken by mouth developed by a Chinese company with the approval from the authorities. We believe the recent development will help control and curb the pandemic. We are happy to reach a strategic partnership with Genuine Biotech and hope to develop treatments and prevention solutions for Covid-19.”

“We will make use of Fosun Pharmaceutical’s innovation and commercialization capabilities accumulated over years and utilize the advantages from out international operation to bring Azvudine tablets to patients around the world,” Wen said.

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