Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc rose 6% on Friday after its antiviral drug, remdesivir, became the first and only approved treatment for COVID-19 in the United States.
The U.S. health regulator’s approval on Thursday for its use in hospitalized patients came despite the World Health Organization last week saying the drug did not have a substantial effect on patients’ length of hospital stay or chances of survival in a global trial.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) backing signals its confidence in Gilead’s U.S.-based study results, which showed the drug was able to cut time to recovery in patients, Piper Sandler analyst Tyler Van Buren said in a client note.
Remdesivir has been available under an FDA emergency use authorization since May, after a study led by the National Institutes of Health showed it reduced hospital stays by five days.
The drug, given intravenously, could generate over $1 billion in sales during the second half of the year at the current case rate, analyst Van Buren said.
Covid 19 Time Series
Remdesivir, which will be sold under the brand name Veklury, costs $3,120 for a five-day treatment course, or $2,340 for government purchasers such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shares of Gilead were up 5.67% at $64.11 before the bell.
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