Gilead Sciences Inc. said it has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic drug makers to manufacture remdesivir, its experimental COVID-19 drug, for distribution in 127 countries.
Foster City, California-based Gilead signed the licensing deals with five generic drug makers based in India and Pakistan to further expand the supply of remdesivir.
The five companies are India-based Cipla Ltd., Hetero Labs Ltd., Jubilant Lifesciences, and Mylan as well as Pakistan-based Ferozsons Laboratories.
The drug will be distributed in 127 countries consisting of nearly all low-income and lower-middle-income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries “that face significant obstacles to healthcare access,” Gilead said.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 4.38 million people globally and claimed at least 294,600 lives till now. Gilead has said its overarching goal is to make remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.
Under the licensing agreements, the five generic drug makers have a right to receive a technology transfer of the Gilead manufacturing process for remdesivir to enable them to scale up production more quickly. The licensees will be able to set their own prices for the generic drugs they produce.
Gilead noted that the licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization declares that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a global health crisis, or until a pharmaceutical product other than remdesivir or a vaccine is approved, whichever is earlier.
Remdesivir is one of many drugs being tested as a potential treatment for severely and moderately ill COVID-19 patients.
On May 1, the FDA issued emergency use authorization for remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease.
In clinical trials, intravenously administered remdesivir has been shown to shorten the recovery time in some COVID-19 patients.
Gilead has set a goal of producing at least 500,000 rounds of remdesivir by October, one million rounds by the end of this year and millions more in 2021, if required. These targets are based on a ten-day treatment course.
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