Daiichi Sankyo Co.'s longer-acting version of GlaxoSmithKline Plc's flu drug, Relenza, was as effective as a course of Tamiflu, a patient study found.
The safety and efficacy of a single dose of the inhaled medicine was ``statistically indistinguishable'' from a twice-a- day dose of Roche Holding AG's Tamiflu taken for five days, said Melbourne-based Biota Holdings Ltd., which is developing the drug with Japan's Daiichi Sankyo. The study, involving ``several hundred'' patients with seasonal flu, was the second of three stages of human trials usually needed for regulatory approval.
The companies plan to start final-stage tests in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea by the Northern Hemisphere winter, Biota said in a statement today. If approved, the medicine could provide a new treatment for flu, a disease causing 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide a year.