Gilead Sciences Inc announced Tuesday that they had struck non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic drug makers to manufacture remdesivir, its experimental COVID-19 drug, for distribution in 127 countries, not including the United States.
The company said that Drugmakers Mylan, Cipla, Ferozsons Laboratories, Hetero Labs and Jubilant Lifesciences will manufacture remdesivir for distribution in "low-income and lower-middle-income countries, as well as several upper-middle- and high-income countries" that face health-care barriers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The five generic drug makers are based in India and Pakistan and will help further expand the supply of remdesivir.
Under the agreements, the companies can establish their own prices, but will not have to pay royalties to Gilead until the World Health Organization declares an end to the public health emergency for the novel coronavirus, or until another medicine or vaccine is approved to treat or prevent Covid-19.
This will help to set the price low so that drugs can be manufactured and distributed quickly to those in need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected more than 4.38 million people globally and claimed at least 294,600 lives till now, according to John Hopkins University. Gilead mentioned that their ultimate goal is to make remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.
Remdesivir is one of many drugs being tested as a potential treatment for severely and moderately ill COVID-19 patients.
On May 1, the Food and Drug Administration (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 CEO Daniel O'Day told CNBC earlier this month that the company has been attempting to expand its supply chain after learning from other severe outbreaks such as influenza.
Gilead anticipates producing more than 140,000 rounds of its 10-day treatment regimen by the end of this month and is aiming to manufacture at least 500,000 rounds of remdesivir by October, one million rounds by the end of this year and millions more in 2021, if demanded.