Gilead Sciences Inc this month began commercial sales of remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients by infusion.The drug was granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May after it demonstrated an ability to shorten hospital stays for COVID-19 patients, but does not yet have full U.S. approval. It was approved in Japan.
Demand for remdesivir continues to outstrip supply in many parts of the world.
Gilead’s chief executive, Daniel O’Day, on a conference call, said the company expects by the end of September to be producing enough remdesivir to meet real-time global demand.
Gilead said it still expects to manufacturer 2 million or more remdesivir treatment courses cumulatively in 2020, and its revenue outlook reflects expected sales of up to 1.5 million courses this year.
The company said it has launched a clinical trial of an inhaled formulation of remdesivir, with the aim of more effectively delivering the drug to lung tissue. Gilead also plans to study the drug in patients with earlier-stage COVID-19.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is currently conducting a trial of remdesivir in combination with Olumiant, an arthritis drug from Eli Lilly & Co, and those results are expected next month.
So far, only remdesivir and the generic steroid dexamethasone have been shown in rigorous clinical trials to help patients with COVID-19.