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Bio Industry: Clinical Trial Update for Gilead's COVID-19 Treatment
The Most Promising Drug for COVID-19
Bio Industry: Clinical Trial Update for Gilead's COVID-19 Treatment
  • By William Ku
  • March 13, 2020, 14:06
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The author is an analyst of NH Investment & Securities. He can be reached at -- Ed. 


In addition to a clinical trial of Remdesivir that started in China in February, Gilead has launched additional global phase III clinical trials of the drug. Initial clinical trial results in China should be available this month, with global phase III initial results anticipated in April. Upon confirmation of favorable clinical results, markets should stabilize to some extent.

Initial clinical trial results for Gilead’s Remdesivir expected in March

Currently, the most promising drug for Covid-19 treatment appears to be Gilead’s Remdesivir. Remdesivir was originally developed as a treatment for Ebola, but following the outbreak of Covid-19, it was prescribed to the first confirmed patient in the US with promising results. Accordingly, it is being viewed as a potential treatment for Covid-19. In addition to clinical trials in China, which began in February with a total of 761 patients, global clinical trials in the US, Singapore, and Korea have been underway from March. The global clinical trials include a total of 1,000 patients, including 400 severe cases (75 in Korea) and 600 moderate cases (120 in Korea). Gilead plans to announce clinical results in April. We expect results of the first clinical trial in China to be released in the coming days of March. Should the treatment prove successful, markets will likely stabilize to some extent.

In 2009, H1N1 influenza treatment was supplied worldwide within six months from H1N1 outbreak

Looking at a previous pandemic, we note that the H1N1 flu was declared a pandemic by the WHO in June 2009, following the first confirmed case in Mexico on Mar 9 of that year. Antiviral drug Tamiflu (Roche; original developer Gilead) was licensed in the US in 1999 and in the EU in 2002. Although it was widely used during the 2005 bird flu epidemic in Southeast Asia, Tamiflu sales reached only W60.0bn in 2008. Following confirmation of positive effects from Tamiflu in the early stages of the H1N1 outbreak, global supply of the drug expanded rapidly from May 2009. We note that the number of H1N1 flu patients decreased after reaching a peak in Oct 2009, and in 2009, Tamiflu sales amounted to W3.0tn. If the efficacy of Remdesivir is confirmed over March-April, we believe that supply to global treatment centers will accelerate rapidly.