Gilead in Talks to Ramp Up Global Supply of Remdesivir Production

Gilead Sciences Inc.’s (GILD) said it is in talks with some of the world’s leading chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies to produce its experimental remdesivir coronavirus drug in Europe, Asia and the developing world through at least 2022.

“Close coordination of remdesivir manufacturing will be critical,” Gilead said in a statement. “This is why Gilead is working to build a consortium of manufacturing partners – to bring efforts together to help maximize global supply.”

On Sunday, the drugmaker said that its remdesivir Covid-19 treatment will be available to patients as early as this week. Remdesivir, a direct acting antiviral drug that inhibits viral RNA synthesis, received emergency FDA approval on May 1.

To roll out its global supply plan, Gilead said it is also negotiating long-term voluntary licenses with several generic drugmakers in India and Pakistan to produce remdesivir for developing countries. The drugmaker added that it will provide appropriate technology transfers to facilitate this production. For developing countries the company is in active discussions with the Medicines Patent Pool, which has been a partner for many years, to license remdesivir.

In an effort to provide medicines to low- and middle-income countries Gilead is in advanced discussions with UNICEF to deliver remdesivir using its well-established distribution networks.

Shares in Gilead have dropped almost 6% in the past 5 days trading at $79.14 after rallying 21% this year.

Five-star analyst Brian Abrahams at RBC Capital on Tuesday maintained his Buy rating on the stock with a $88 price target, while cautioning that the COVID-19 infected numbers are not declining as quickly as expected.

“With reported COVID-19 infections not declining as perceptibly as most models had originally predicted, and with our latest understanding of RDV production cadence, we now believe in our base case GILD would only be able to supply the medicine to ~1/3 of U.S. patients who could benefit from it throughout the summer, unless cases begin to fall more substantially and/or become less severe, nearly all patients take the 5-day rather than 10-day course, and all the supply is allocated to the U.S.”

TipRanks data shows that out of the 28 analysts covering Gilead in the past three months, 15 are now sidelined with a Hold rating on the stock, 8 say Buy and 4 say Sell, adding up to a Hold consensus rating. The $79.39 average price target suggests analysts see limited upside potential in the shares in the coming 12 months. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks)
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