By Matt Grossman 

Gilead Sciences Inc. is expanding its manufacturing network to ramp up production of Covid-19 treatment remdesivir, and says it will be able to meet global demand in real time starting in October.

The company has struck a multiyear deal to have Pfizer Inc. manufacture the antiviral medication developed by Gilead.

The drug, which has been in short supply, has been approved for limited use as a treatment for Covid-19. Pfizer plans to produce remdesivir at its Kansas facility.

The drug, first developed as a potential treatment for hepatitis C, interferes with the virus's ability to replicate in a patient's cells. Federal and state agencies have decided how to apportion the treatment among hospitals as demand exceeded its availability during the pandemic.

Gilead's manufacturing network for remdesivir now includes more than 40 companies in North America, Europe and Asia, the company said Thursday. Supply has grown more than 50-fold since January, when the new coronavirus first led to an outbreak of Covid-19 in China.

Gilead plans to produce two million additional remdesivir treatment courses by the end of the year, the company said.

Meanwhile, Novavax Inc., which is developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus, also reached deals this week to ramp up production. Novavax will license the vaccine technology to Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which anticipates the capacity to make more than 250 million doses of the vaccine a year with funding from the Japanese government, the companies said. Takeda will be responsible for regulatory approvals in Japan and Novavax will receive payments based on milestones and a portion of proceeds from the vaccine, the companies said.

Novavax has also licensed its vaccine candidate to Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd., giving the company the rights to produce the Novavax vaccine for India and for low- and middle-income countries. That deal could support the production of 1 billion doses of the vaccine, Novavax said.

A Phase 1 trial of Novavax's vaccine showed its potential to create a robust immune response, the company said Tuesday.

Write to Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 07, 2020 13:32 ET (17:32 GMT)

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