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Gilead to meet rising remdesivir demand in Europe with new supply deal

Published on 08/10/20 at 12:40pm

The European Commission (EC) has signed a new joint procurement agreement (JPA) with pharma firm Gilead to improve access to its antiviral therapy remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 as stocks of the drug begin to run dry worldwide.

Under the terms of the agreement, 37 nations across the European Union, including member states and those within the European Economic Area (EEA), will have the option to order doses of the drug.

The deal aims to provide “rapid and equitable” access to the therapy. The EC will coordinate the execution of the agreement in order to meet rising demand and stockpiling needs as nations grapple with a second wave of the pandemic.

Originally developed as an Ebola drug, remdesivir was the first antiviral therapy to secure approval in the EU and the UK for the treatment of patients infected with the virus. It has generated much attention for its promising efficacy in reducing recovery times in affected patients, and has even been used to treat US President Donald Trump, who was struck with the virus last week.

In the UK, the therapy is approved specifically for the treatment of COVID-19 in adult and adolescent patients with pneumonia who require supplemental oxygen.

The agreement will cover six months with the option for extensions if desired; it is said that the company is expected to begin to meet increased supply demands by the end of October, which should allow for the treatment of the rising number of currently affected patients as well as for stockpiling in preparation for future waves.

Since the beginning of the year, Gilead has dramatically ramped up production capacity of remdesivir by more than 400 times, and is expecting to have produced two million treatment courses by the end of this year. The company has made this happen through a suite of external manufacturing agreements with over 40 contract manufacturing organisations and ten partner sites across Europe, in addition to streamlining its production process.  

Matt Fellows

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