While Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir has been declared the new standard of care for COVID-19 despite some mixed trial results, it will continue to face challenges from vaccines in the pipeline, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Once a vaccine is developed, the demand for remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients will decline.
Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData comments: “There are currently 210 vaccines in development for COVID-19. The US government has initiated Operation Warp Speed, which will further speed up the development of these vaccine and shorten remdesivir’s optimal usefulness as a treatment. Surveys conducted by GlobalData have shown that 52% of respondents are very confident that a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 will be available within the next 12 months.”
The current nominees for Operation Warp speed include Moderna’s mRNA1273 and AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s AZD1222, which are both already in clinical trials, along with other competitors. These candidates are also receiving outside governmental funding that will lessen the impact of a possible failure, and increasing the speed of development by simultaneously fast-tracking the animal studies.
Swanson concludes, “Additionally, these companies are quickly scaling up their vaccine production even before they have the completed clinical trials. AstraZeneca and Oxford University have recruited Oxford Biomedica to produce their vaccine candidate in a five-year contract. Moderna is preparing to scale up its COVID-19 vaccine production as well, as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has updated its contract with Moderna to include additional manufacturing sites. Moderna is also collaborating with Lonza for the production of up to one billion vaccine doses at sites in the US and Switzerland. As more vaccine doses are produced, more people will be inoculated and there should be less demand for a therapeutic COVID-19 treatment.”
Remdesivir will make up a significant portion of Gilead’s revenue if no vaccine is developed for COVID-19. Remdesivir has received both the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and regulatory approval in Japan. It also has the chance to receive first-to-market status in the EU, and to be combined with other therapies and supportive care.