The pharmaceutical company Valenta Pharm has begun testing the effectiveness of its drug Ingavirin against COVID-19. It is one of the most popular antiviral medicines used for colds and flu. Based on the research results, the manufacturer will be able to add COVID-19 to indications for use and increase sales of the drug.
As follows from the data from the register of medicines, Valenta Pharm in June began testing the effectiveness of COVID-19 for its drug Ingavirin, which is now used for influenza and ARVI. The study involved 290 volunteers at the city hospital №40 in St. Petersburg. Valente Pharm told Kommersant that the first “clinical observations” of the use of Ingavirin in COVID-19 began at the end of 2020. The company plans to publish their results in the journal “Therapy” in the near future. There is no information on these trials in the register of medicinal products.
Valenta Pharm has existed since 1997. The portfolio includes more than 90 drugs, including Ingavirin, Grammidin, Trimedat, Phenazepam, etc. It produces more than 100 million finished drugs per year. Revenue of Valenta Pharm JSC in 2020 was 18.6 billion rubles, net profit – 5.5 billion rubles.
Permission to conduct clinical trials of Ingavirin is valid until 2023. But the current government decree No. 441 of April 3, 2021 allows the study to be completed ahead of schedule, after which Valenta Pharm will be able to add COVID-19 to the drug’s indications, market participants say. Previously, this mechanism has already been used by “Khimrar”, “R-Pharm” Alexey Repik and others for accelerated registration and market launch of their analogues favipiravir. The testing of the drug and the registration procedure then took the companies a little over a month.
According to him, if the company manages to add COVID-19 to the instruction, pharmacy sales of the drug are likely to grow, as happened with arbidol (produced by Otisipharm, associated with Viktor Kharitonin’s Pharmstandard). Arbidol was included in the interim recommendations of the Ministry of Health for the treatment of COVID-19 in March 2020. Over the entire last year, drug sales in pharmacies increased by 334%, to 11.5 billion rubles, according to DSM Group data. In January of this year, the Ministry of Health added COVID-19 to the instructions for arbidol. In January-April, drug sales grew by 51% to RUB 4 billion. year to year.
Buyers spared no expense for immunomodulators
According to DSM Group, Ingavirin ranks second after Arbidol in the list of the best-selling antiviral agents in pharmacies. For the entire 2020, 15.2 million packages of this drug were sold at a cost of 11 billion rubles, which is 110% more than in 2019. In January-April this year, sales reached 2.8 billion rubles, which is 8.3% less than a year earlier. According to Mr. Shulyak, the inclusion of Ingavirin in the recommendations of the Ministry of Health may increase the demand for the drug and in public procurement. According to the calculations of the Headway Company, in January-April of this year, hospitals purchased packages of Ingavirin for 95.3 million rubles. Arbidol for the same period was purchased for 179.9 million rubles.