Got Ebola? Fujifilm Is Here to Help

More than a decade ago, Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corporation was one of the world’s largest manufacturers of photography film. After demand for camera film basically evaporated, the company had no choice but to reinvent a new wheel for itself. And so in 2008 the company bought Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd., setting the stage for Fujifilm’s jump into the world of biotech.

Little did anyone know, or anticipate, at the time that the new pharmaceutical company’s influenza drug Avigan would become one of the most promising candidates in the fight against Ebola.

Although not yet tested thoroughly enough on either humans or monkeys, some research papers report that Avigan has been effective on mice, and some reports even say that a French nurse was cured with the experimental drug along with a cocktail of others. Both France and Guinea are planning to conduct clinical trials in mid-November.

If successful, the drug would propel Fujifilm’s credentials and reputation in the pharmaceutical industry, thereby giving it a chance to compete with the heavyweights. This boost in confidence would most likely spread to some of the company’s other ambitious business ventures, such as cosmetics, dietary supplements, and medical equipment.

Apparently, Fujifilm is not the only Japanese blue-chip to jump into the biotech industry. Kirin Beer (in what was a definite surprise to me) produces cancer, kidney disease, and high blood pressure treatments through subsidiary Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd.

In any case, here’s to hoping that Fujifilm’s (or another company’s) fight against Ebola finds at least some measure of accomplishment. And soon.