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Gilead Sciences Plans to Expand Global Supply of Remdesivir

By Brian Orelli, PhD – May 5, 2020 at 7:41PM

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The ebola-turned-coronavirus treatment will be needed globally.

After getting positive data for its antiviral remdesivir in patients with COVID-19 and the Food and Drug Administration's authorization to use the drug last week, Gilead Sciences (GILD -1.43%) is turning its sights on making sure the drug is available globally.

On Tuesday, the biotech announced plans to increase the manufacturing of remdesivir, a drug that is quite hard to make and requires scarce raw materials that need to be produced separately.

Gilead is in discussions with other manufacturers that may be able to produce the drug for Europe, Asia, and the developing world through at least 2022. The company is also negotiating long-term voluntary licenses with multiple generic-drug makers in India and Pakistan, which would produce remdesivir for developing countries.

On the patent front, the company is working the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed public health organization that acts as an intermediary between branded-drug companies and generic-drug companies to provide drugs to developing countries. Gilead has previously worked with Medicines Patent Pool to bring its HIV drugs to developing countries.

To get the drugs to the countries in need, Gilead is in discussions with UNICEF to hopefully use its distribution networks in low- and middle-income countries.

Patient and doctors in an area labeled Caution: Outbreak Alert

Image source: Getty Images.

Providing remdesivir in developing countries isn't likely add much to Gilead's revenue, but it'll provide some goodwill for an industry that's had a lot of bad press recently over high drug prices.

Coordinating the global manufacturing through licenses could also help Gilead manage the global supply of raw ingredients to maximize the global supply of remdesivir, potentially increasing the company's profits, although that seems to be a secondary concern for Gilead, even in developed countries, given that it donated 1.5 million doses of the drug.

Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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