TOKYO -- A drug that suppresses replication of the flu virus with a single oral dose has been approved for sale in Japan.
Japanese drugmaker Shionogi on Friday announced that its Xofluza tablet had received approval from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The drug was reviewed under a fast-track process the ministry introduced in 2015 and will go on sale as soon as prices are set, the company said.
Xofluza has been lauded for its innovative mechanism and emerges as a rival to Tamiflu, a drug that requires two daily doses over five consecutive days.
With only one dose, Xofluza inhibits an enzyme that flu viruses need to replicate themselves. Tamiflu, on the other hand, does not suppress virus replication.
Shionogi predicts its new product will help reduce costs for patients and enhance infection control in homes and workplaces.
Xofluza is the first drug to be approved through the fast-track review system. Titanbridge, a device to treat vocal disorders marketed by Tokyo-based company Nobelpharma, has been approved through the process.
Shionogi is working in conjunction with Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding on marketing Xofluza globally, except for in the Japan and Taiwan markets.