Remdesivir To Be Available For Coronavirus Patients This Week, Gilead CEO Says

Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD chief executive officer Daniel O'Day told CBS on Sunday that the company's Remdesivir drug will be shipped for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients starting this week.

What Happened

O'Day said that the entire supply of Remdesivir, within its supply chain, has been donated to the federal government, which will determine where the critical drug is needed the most.

"[The United States government] will determine, based upon things like ICU beds, where the course of the epidemic is in the United States," O'Day told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"They will begin shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses out early this week and be adjusting that as the epidemic shifts and evolves in different parts, in different cities here in the United States."

The Gilead CEO said the company had about 1.5 million Remdesivir vials in its supply chain that was donated to the federal government. Depending on whether a COVID-19 patient is put on a 5-day course or a 10-day one, the supply could serve anywhere between 100,000 to 150,000 people.

The drug can only be administered in a hospital setting through intravenous therapy or IV at the moment, according to O'Day.

Gilead hasn't been barred from exporting the drug, O'Day told CBS.

"We'll have significantly more supply in the second half of this year," he said. "We're aligned with the U.S. government to both serve the patients here...and then to be able to also make sure, as a global company based here in the United States, that we can serve other countries around the world as well."

Why It Matters

Gilead received emergency drug approval from the Food and Drugs Administration for Remdesivir on Friday.

The approval after a study conducted at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases concluded that it reduced the hospitalization time for patients who fall critically ill due to the coronavirus by up to 31%.

There are currently no approved vaccines or drugs to treat the coronavirus that has killed nearly 250,000 people worldwide, making the drug vital for ensuring speedier recovery.

Multiple vaccine candidates, including those of Moderna Inc. MRNA, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. INO, and Oxford University, are currently seeing clinical trials.

Health authorities have given a timeline of 12 to 18 months on the public availability of a COVID-19 vaccine, if one is developed and approved at an accelerated pace.

Price Action

Gilead shares closed 4.8% lower at $79.95 on Friday. The shares traded 2.6% higher at $81.75 in the after-hours session.

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: NewsFDATop Stories
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!