Gilead Sciences, the maker of the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, is working to transition to a more "sustainable model" as it shifts to making the drug accessible and affordable to coronavirus patients after study results were released this week showing promising results, company CEO Daniel O'Day said Friday.
"There is no playbook for this situation that we’re in today,” O'Day said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "This is the time for us all as an industry, especially Gilead, to do the right thing...we understand our responsibility both to patients and also to shareholders and we’ll be balancing that."
Earlier this week, the company released preliminary results of a clinical trial of remdesivir that showed at least 50% of the COVID-19 patients who had been treated with a five-day dosage of the drug improved. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also announced results from the institute's own study, which revealed that patients who took the antiviral medication recovered after 11 days, or four days faster than people who did not take the drug. The medication has not yet been approved to treat COVID-19 and health officials say the net data about it has not yet been peer-approved.
Gilead says it is prepared to donate 1.5 million doses of its drug to patients hospitalized with COVID-19, but O’Day said Friday the research and manufacturing of the drug will require investment. The company spent $50 million on research and development of the medication in the first quarter alone, according to an earnings report released on Thursday, and said it could end up spending as much as $1 billion this year.
On Friday, O'Day said Gilead will scale up its supply chain, after it learned from other outbreaks like influenza, as it's "extremely important you have a robust supply chain with a lot of duplication in it."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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