According to Morgan Stanley estimates, if Gilead Sciences' remdesivir is approved in China to treat COVID-19, the company may be able to charge only as little as $260 per treatment course in the country, reported Morningstar.
Some analysts suggested Gilead might not even make that much, if China decides to bypass the company and authorize manufacturing of generic versions of the antiviral.
China could grant a patent to a state-run Chinese research institute, which last week applied for a patent covering use of remdesivir against the novel coronavirus. It also could invoke a World Trade Organization "compulsory license" rule. Gilead would likely get paid royalties in either scenario, the news source said.
Gilead indicated that it applied for a patent on remdesivir use in coronaviruses in 2016, and the application is pending in China.
Meanwhile, over the past month, Gilead began coordinating with contract manufacturers to start producing the drug again in North America and halted production of an approved product at one of its own facilities in North America so it could start making remdesivir itself, said chief medical officer Merdad Parsey.
Last week, Gilead shipped the last batch of remdesivir needed to supply two COVID-19 studies, the first in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infection and the second in patients with severe disease. The studies are expected to be completed in early April.