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Remdesivir’s price, RWD’s moment & a genomics breakup: a BioCentury Podcast

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Gilead has done the biopharma industry a favor by giving remdesivir a Goldilocks price, according to BioCentury Washington Editor Steve Usdin. On the latest edition of the BioCentury This Week podcast, Usdin discusses remdesivir’s price, supply and future prospects as well as HHS’s deal to secure at least 90% of Gilead’s production of the antiviral for the next three months.

Usdin and colleagues also explore the critical role of real-world data during the pandemic, as well as WuXi NextCode’s decision to split up one of the world’s leading genomics platforms.

A course of remdesivir in the U.S. for patients who have private insurance will be $3,120, while it will cost less for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) has deals with generics manufacturers to supply the antiviral at a much lower price in developing countries.

“Gilead has done itself and probably done the industry a big favor by not creating a controversy around the price of remdesivir, or at least not a huge controversy around it,” says Usdin (see “Gilead’s Remdesivir Price”).

But the deal between Gilead and HHS continues a nationalistic trend around procurement of countermeasures, according to Usdin, who added that the agreement raises the question of whether the company will have enough other sources to supply the rest of the world.

Usdin and Executive Editor Jeff Cranmer handicap the chances of drug pricing legislation becoming law this year as Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) renews his push to advance the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (see “Grassley Pushing Drug Pricing Bill”).

The editors also check in on COVID-19 “evidence accelerators,” which are looking to use real-world data to help guide clinical trial design and clinical practice, and assist in regulatory decisions. One of the newest initiatives aims to connect data on diagnostic and antibody tests, which the big labs have, with outcomes data that healthcare systems have (see “The Pivotal Role of Real-World Data in a Pandemic”).

Lauren Martz, senior editor and head of translation and clinical development, discusses why a move by WuXi NextCode Genomics Inc. to split its China business from operations in the U.S. and Europe seems like the best path forward for both entities, with each unit facing tightening regulations that restrict the flow of genomic data across international borders (see “Why the WuXi NextCode Split Makes Strategic Sense”).

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