Chinese authorities concentrate on domestic COVID-19 treatments to combat new variants

According to GlobalData, Chinese drug regulators are concentrating on approving domestic antiviral treatments that can combat fresh COVID-19 strains. Five of the 16 COVID-19 medications now under clinical development in China are in Phase III. The majority of these medications in the Phase III stage target different COVID-19 omicron variant subtypes. Two domestic oral medications, Xiannuoxin by Simcere Pharmaceutical and Mindevir by Shanghai Junshi Biosciences, have received conditional approval from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the management of mild to moderate COVID-19.

There are now 16 COVID-19 medicines under clinical development in China, five of which are in Phase III, according to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center. The majority of these medications in Phase III are directed at different COVID-19 omicron subtypes. There are only a few antiviral medications available in China, such as Pfizer’s paxlovid and Genuine Biotech’s azuvidine, according to Anupama Mishra, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData. The number of approved therapies must therefore be increased. Seven domestically produced Chinese medications have currently received official or restricted approval to treat COVID-19.

Chinese officials have now included all domestic medications, such as Xiannuoxin (ritonavir and simnotrelvir) and Mindevir, to the national medical reimbursement list in an effort to improve market access (remdesivir). A tiny chemical oral treatment called Xiannuoxin targets the 3C-like protease, a crucial enzyme in COVID-19 reproduction and life cycle. Significantly, the critical Phase II/III clinical trial for Xiannuoxin is the first of its kind to look into Chinese patients who have the COVID-19 omicron variant. Trial information is not yet available because the study is still in progress.

A novel oral nucleoside analogue antiviral medication called VV116 also showed non-inferiority to paxlovid in a Phase III trial with regard to the time to sustained clinical recovery and less safety issues. The antiviral COVID-19 pharmaceuticals now on the market in China will face fierce competition from these recently licensed medications. As of 14 February 2023, China had 4,903,517 confirmed cases and 101,016 deaths as a result of COVID-19, according to the GlobalData COVID-19 dashboard. As the Zero-COVID policy was dropped in December 2022, the number of cases reached their pinnacle.

“It is crucial for Chinese pharmaceutical businesses to improve market access by starting mass manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 medicines at competitive retail costs,” Mishra writes in his conclusion. Increased clinical recovery and a consequent drop in hospitalizations will enhance the healthcare system as more efficient COVID-19 medicines are approved.

More about Simcere Pharmaceutical

Simcere Pharmaceutical Group is a Chinese pharmaceutical company that specializes in the research, development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceutical products. The company was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Nanjing, China. Simcere Pharmaceutical’s main products include prescription drugs for the treatment of various diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases. Some of its notable products include Endostar, a recombinant human endostatin for the treatment of lung cancer, and Anjieer, an innovative drug for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Simcere Pharmaceutical has a strong research and development team and collaborates with leading research institutions and universities both in China and internationally. The company also has a wide sales and marketing network across China and other countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. Simcere Pharmaceutical is committed to improving the quality of life for patients and contributing to the advancement of healthcare globally.

More about Mindevir and Shanghai Junshi Bioscience

Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co., Ltd., also known as Junshi Biosciences, is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Shanghai, China. The company was founded in 2012 and has since become a leading developer of innovative biologics. Mindevir is a subsidiary of Junshi Biosciences that focuses on the research and development of novel antibody therapeutics. Mindevir’s goal is to develop innovative antibody drugs that address significant unmet medical needs in areas such as oncology, autoimmune diseases, and infectious diseases. Mindevir has a robust pipeline of therapeutic candidates that target a variety of diseases. Some of its most promising products include:

  1. Toripalimab: A PD-1 inhibitor that is approved in China for the treatment of several types of cancer, including melanoma, lung cancer, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
  2. JS016: A fully human neutralizing antibody that targets the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. JS016 is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19.
  3. JAB-3068: A monoclonal antibody that targets IL-6, a cytokine that plays a key role in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. JAB-3068 is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Mindevir is committed to developing innovative therapeutics that improve patients’ lives and advance the field of biopharmaceuticals. Its partnership with Junshi Biosciences provides the company with access to a world-class research and development team, state-of-the-art facilities, and a robust global network of partners and collaborators

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