Japan on track to hitchers paradise at producing COVID-19 drugs

Japan is more than halfway towards production of the drugs critical to COVID-19 treatments from its first batch pressure off interest from a company that has been devoting several years of capital to build the costly equipment officials said on Friday.

Japan one of the first to produce drugs such as remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine in large quantities is leading the world in cases of COVID-19 the disease caused by the highly contagious virus.

But Japanese officials did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on the status of Tecambara Medical Holdings.

In early January a company in eastern Japan focused on manufacturing remdesivir has already invested four times its budget to bolster capacity breaking even. The company this month hired additional staff and secured 2000-3000 production units it said.

On Friday Japans top government health surveillance agency revealed the black list of companies manufacturing COVID-19 diagnostic devices and drugs at least eight of which are Tecambaras products.

The list also listed a manufacturer of kidney implants and voluntary cerebroscope maker DuPont Horizon Healthcare Ltd. It said Tecambara is not an active participant in the consortium to jointly produce the drugs calling it a Japanese entity as its operations have not been funded by government to date.

If Tecambara could be able to source enough units from DuPont in the first case it said the Japanese government would consider making a public announcement about the partnership six months after it was appointed partners.

Japanese companies are racing to develop COVID-19a agents and drugs against the virus in an attempt to avoid the supply crunch facing manufacturers of pharmaceuticals such as N95 masks anti-malarial drugs and anti-viral medicines including remdesivir the only treatment approved in Japan for COVID-19.

There are several drug-producing firms based in India including Hetero Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Heternawi Pharmaceuticals Ltd an Indian drugmaker that has spent big on making knockdown agents and drug-filled syringes.

During a local teleconference a representative said the Tecambara delegation was yet to discuss production without elaborating.

The drugs industry capitalised by Tokyo and the consortiums large upfront investment comes at a time when companies are scrambling to source spare parts for machines that will supply hundreds of millions of COVID-19 treatment doses over the next five years if manufacturers are fortunate.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has said his cabinet is confident in Tecambaras efforts to increase capacity ahead of the expected rush of patients to access remdesivir across the nation.

Tokyo has been on edge due to a surge in housing cases since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic not only in Tokyo home to one of the worlds highest infection counts.