Gilead Sciences has signed licensing agreements with five generic drugmakers to make antiviral drug remdesivir in 127 countries.
Remdesivir will be made by drugmakers Mylan, Cipla, Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs and Jubilant Lifesciences will manufacture remdesivir for distribution in “low-income and lower-middle-income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries” said Gilead on Tuesday.
The selected companies would not pay royalties to the Californian-based biotech unless the World Health Organization calls an end to the coronavirus pandemic. The five companies would be free to price the drug on their own. Also, as part of the agreement, Gilead would share its manufacturing knowledge with the selected companies.
The Food and Drug Administration on 1 May granted emergency use authorization for Gilead’s remdesivir drug to treat Covid-19, which has infected more than 4 million people across the globe in a little over four months, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading US infectious disease specialist, has also expressed optimism over the drug.
Last week, Gilead said it was scouting for external partners to boost its ability to produce remdesivir for countries in Europe, Asia and beyond until at least 2022.
Remdesivir manufacturing relies on “scarce” raw materials that command their own “lengthy” production timelines, Gilead has said. Moving forward, coordination on producing the drug will be “critical,” the drugmaker says.
Shares in Gilead closed down 3.5% $77.95 on Tuesday. The stock has risen 20% this year.
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