Clinical Trials Show New Flu Drug Safe and Effective: Japanese Drugmaker

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 10 2009 6:11 PM

A new flu drug under development has been shown to be as safe and effective as Tamiflu in clinical trials, Japanese pharmaceutical maker Daiichi Sankyo Co. said Monday.

The drug, known as CS-8958 or Laninamivir, demonstrated the same level of efficacy as Tamiflu for adults and was even more effective among children, the company said in a statement.

Laninamivir, co-owned with Australia's Biota Holdings Ltd., is expected to be effective for treating seasonal and swine flu, and has also shown efficacy against the H5N1 avian flu virus in non-clinical tests, it said.

"Laninamivir offers a new therapeutic agent in the treatment of influenza with particular advantages for stockpiling applications," Biota managing director Peter Cook said in a separate statement.

Daiichi said it would apply to regulators by March for approval to sell the drug in Japan, where it has the marketing rights. A licensing partner is being sought for all other markets.

Sales of Tamiflu, made by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, have soared following the emergence of the A(H1N1) swine flu virus and its rapid spread around the world to pandemic levels.