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To ensure global access to remdesivir, Gilead building coalition spanning South Asia, Europe and the UN

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Gilead provided a glimpse Tuesday into how it plans to get remdesivir to patients around the globe in a way that’s both affordable and accessible by building a manufacturing consortium, granting licenses to South Asian generics companies and partnering with the Medicines Patent Pool and UNICEF.

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) has yet to name any manufacturing partners for the COVID-19 therapy.

The antiviral received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from FDA on May 1 to treat certain COVID-19 patients with severe disease. The company has said it could invest up to $1 billion in manufacturing remdesivir and has a goal of producing at least 1 million treatment courses by December (see “Remdesivir’s Challenge”).

The company provided a handful of new details about the consortium of chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies it is building to produce remdesivir, including plans to make the therapy in Europe, Asia and developing countries through at least 2022. On April 30, CFO Andrew Dickinson said that the company is in discussions with undisclosed companies to establish end-to-end manufacturing supply chains separate from its own. “The difficulty there, as you might imagine, is that given the scarcity of some of the starting materials, we want to make sure that we don’t do anything to impact our supply chain.”

It’s also negotiating long-term voluntary licenses with generics makers in India and Pakistan to produce the antiviral for developing countries.

India is already emerging as a major manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccines. The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is partnered with the University of Oxford to manufacture its ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 adenovirus vaccine candidate, as well as with Codagenix Inc. on its live-attenuated vaccine (see “India Emerging as Major COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturer”)

Along with Indian and Pakistani manufacturers, Gilead is working with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) and UNICEF to license and distribute remdesivir in developing countries.

Last month the MPP announced that the public health organization’s board has temporarily expanded its mandate to include any health technology that could contribute to the global response to COVID-19 and where licensing could facilitate innovation and access.

Further analysis of the coronavirus crisis can be found at https://www.biocentury.com/coronavirus.

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