RDIF and ChemRar Group launch clinical studies of Favipiravir

Press release, 28.04.2020

Moscow, April 28, 2020 – The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and ChemRar Group today announce the start of a multicenter randomized open comparative clinical trial of the drug Favipiravir on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The studies will be conducted in 17 centers nationwide involving 330 patients who have a confirmed coronavirus infection. A number of patients have already begun receiving treatment in three medical centers in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Smolensk.

The clinical trial will focus on the effectiveness and safety of Favipiravir , as well as establishing the optimal dosage for patients.

The first stage of pre-clinical studies completed recently has shown that Favipiravir belongs to the 5th (highest) safety category according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). The drug has demonstrated antiviral activity in vitro and is currently being studied in vivo on the SARS-CoV-2 virus (strain nCoV / Victoria / 1/2020). Preclinical trials are carried out jointly with the N.F. Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology and Vector, the state research center for virology and biotechnology under the Federal Service for Surveillance of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor).

In an express-study of animal pharmacokinetics, Favipiravir showed high bioavailability when taken orally, which is consistent with published data. Animal bioavailability has exceeded 75%.

The results of the studies conducted by Chinese specialists first found the effectiveness of Favipiravir against COVID-19 in mid-March. On 26 March 2020, RDIF and ChemRar Group announced the creation of a joint venture for the production of Favipiravir in Russia.

Currently, ChemRar is actively engaged in the production of substances and the finished dosage form of the drug. After obtaining the state approval ChemRar will begin mass production of the drug. It is expected that a major part of patients with coronavirus will be able to receive it in the first decade of May.

Scientists and engineers of the ChemRar Group are working around the clock in three shifts to optimize and scale the synthesis of the substance and the production of finished dosage form so that the drug becomes more accessible for patients in Russia and, in the long term, on foreign markets.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said:

“The start of clinical trials in patients diagnosed with coronavirus is an important step in expanding the range of tools available to fight the virus. We expect the successful completion of clinical studies and proven efficiency of the therapy to help us beat the virus and resume economic activity. The full-scale production of Favipiravir by our joint venture with ChemRar will help meet the demand both in Russia and internationally”.

Dmitry Kravchenko, President of ChemRar Group, noted that there are currently no preventive or therapeutic drugs with a proven effect on coronaviruses. That is why both the development of new drugs for the treatment and prevention of coronavirus infection and the study of known registered drugs are relevant. “We are studying several registered drugs that have shown activity against coronavirus in China and Europe. First of all, it is Favipiravir, whose effectiveness has been proved by clinical studies conducted in Wuhan and Shenzhen. If results obtained by our colleagues in China are confirmed, we are ready to start the full-scale production of this drug in early May 2020”, said Dmitry Kravchenko.

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Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 80 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB1.8 tn and covering 95% of the regions of the Russian Federation. RDIF portfolio companies employ more than 800,000 people and generate revenues which equate to more than 6% of Russia’s GDP. RDIF has established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 15 countries that total more than $40 bn.

RDIF takes active steps to counteract COVID-19:

  • Jointly with the ChemRar Group, RDIF is launching the production of Favipiravir, a drug that has proven effective in the treatment of infected patients in China;
  • Jointly with Japan’s K.K. Mirai Genomics, RDIF has invested in the production and distribution of the Russian-Japanese diagnostic system EMG - Evotech-Mirai Genomics, which is one the world’s most accurate and fastest systems for the detection of coronavirus. Results are achieved in just 30 minutes. A range of testing systems has been adapted for use in both fixed laboratories and unique portable mini-laboratories (the size of a small suitcase) which can be used anywhere, including hospitals and public institutions such as schools, offices, airports and train stations.
  • RDIF was one of the initiators of the Alliance against coronavirus, which also includes the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE), Yandex, Mail.ru Group and the Rossiya Segodnya international news agency;
  • Alongside Rossiya Segodnya, RDIF has published a unique “Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment”, based on China’s experience in the fight against coronavirus. The Handbook is available at: https://rdif.ru/data/file/COVID_19_Book.pdf

Further information can be found at rdif.ru

ChemRar Group unites R&D service and investment companies in the field of innovative pharmaceuticals for the development and commercialization of innovative medicines, diagnostics, preventive care and new treatments of life-threatening diseases in Russia and abroad. Further information can be found at https://en.chemrar.ru/

For additional information contact:
Arseniy Palagin
Russian Direct Investment Fund
Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41
E-mail: arseniy.palagin@rdif.ru

Andrew Leach / Maria Shiryaevskaya
Hudson Sandler

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

Elena Surina
ChemRar Group
PR Director
Mobile +7 9262067871
E-mail: es@chemrar.ru