Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said on Monday that they are finding new ways patients can benefit from coronavirus treatment remdesivir.
“We’re not finished with remdesivir,” O’Day said during his interview on “Squawk Box.” His statement came a day after the company announced a $21-billion purchase of Immunomedics that will improve the availability of cancer treatments.
The biopharmaceutical firm in May was granted emergency approval for remdesivir by the Food and Drug Administration. With this, remdesivir was used on people who contracted the coronavirus in the hospital. The antiviral drug, provided through an intravenous infusion, reportedly helps shorten the recovery time of some patients.
O’Day said that Gilead in September started trials to investigate the use of IV remdesivir in outpatient settings, which may allow it to “keep people out of the hospital in high-risk cases.”
He said that the company also has been studying the drug, which had previously been evaluated as a potential Ebola treatment.
“If one could do it without an IV, right to the site of where you get this replication of the virus in the lungs, we’re also hopeful that you might be able to treat outside the hospital and prevent patients from ever going to the hospital,” said O’Day.
Moreover, Gilead CEO noted that administering remdesivir through an IV in an outpatient environment like a nursing home is “probably a shorter timeline.”
“The inhaled version, remember, we’re moving at light speed in the industry. In fact, from when this virus first showed its head in January, in three months time, we had the first of our gold standard trials,” he emphasized. “With a new formulation of a medicine, it does take a little bit longer. So we’re in the early stages of testing for [inhaled use].”
“Depending on the results we see over the coming months, with this early stage testing, we may be moving this into later-stage trials toward the end of this year, early next year,” he said. “We’ll just have to see. We want to follow the science here. We don’t to get ahead of it.”
In June, Gilead said it plans to sell remdesivir $390 per vial to developed countries and $3,120 for a US patient with commercial insurance.
Gilead Sciences’ pricing plans were announced in preparation for it to start charging for the drug in July. The company has been providing doses to the US government for distribution for free since it was granted emergency use authorization in May.
Gilead Sciences will ask a lower price for government programs like Medicare and higher for privately insured people.
The company noted that most patients who took remdesivir will get a five-day treatment course using six vials of remdesivir. This would make the government cost $2,340 for patients on the five-day treatment and $3,120 for commercially insured patients.
“At the level, we have priced remdesivir and with government programs in place, along with additional Gilead assistance as needed, we believe all patients will have access,” the Gilead CEO previously said.