Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) announced pricing for experimental coronavirus drug, remdesivir.
The company set a price for governments of developed countries at $390 per vial which equates to $2,340 per patient as the vast majority of patients are expected to receive a 5-day treatment course using 6 vials of remdesivir.
In the United States, the same government price of $390 per vial will apply. However, due to the way the U.S. system is set up and the discounts expected by government healthcare programs, the price for private insurance companies will be $520 per vial in the country.
Gilead has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), whereby HHS and states will continue to manage allocation to hospitals until the end of September.
For the developing countries, Gilead has entered into agreements with generic manufacturers to deliver treatment at a substantially lower cost.
The company expects its investment in the development and manufacture of remdesivir to exceed $1 billion by the end of 2020.
The pricing was lower than most estimates.
Gilead’s shares have rallied 19.4% in the year so far compared with the industry’s growth of 10.4%. In fact, remdesivir is pioneering the race for a possible treatment of this deadly virus.
Remdesivir has recently been recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s human medicines committee (CHMP).
The FDA granted remdesivir an Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, given the severity of the pandemic. It was recently granted regulatory approval in Japan under an exceptional approval pathway.
While a potential approval of remdesivir will be a significant boost, there is uncertainty regarding the drug’s profitability in the long run, particularly after vaccines hit the market.
Nevertheless, the alarming levels of spread and severity have forced the pharma/biotech companies to evaluate some approved drugs and determine if they are effective in treating infected patients.
Roche (RHHBY - Free Report) has initiated a late-stage study on its arthritis drug, Actemra/RoActemra, in combination with remdesivir in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.
Alexion (ALXN - Free Report) is also evaluating its rare disease drug, Ultomiris (ravulizumab-cwvz), for the COVID-19 infection. Incyte (INCY - Free Report) also initiated RUXCOVID, a global, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Jakafi plus SoC in patients 12 years and above with COVID-19-associated cytokine storm.
The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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