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Gilead, Pfizer, Eli Lilly CEOs On COVID-19 Treatments, Vaccine Development

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·3 min read
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Major coronavirus treatments and vaccine maker executives were interviewed on CNBC Monday to discuss their company's progress in the battle against the disease.

Gilead CEO On Remdesivir: Gilead Sciences, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GILD) remdesivir received an emergency use authorization designation in early May for the treatment of COVID-19, but the company started mass-producing the therapy in January, Gilead CEO and Chairman Daniel O'Day said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." Today, the company has enough inventory of the therapy to treat every hospitalized American, the CEO said. 

Gilead is mass-producing the drug and will have enough inventory to "support the rest of the world by October," he said. 

Parallel studies on how the therapy can be used in conjunction with other agents to better help the patients are underway.

Recently, Gilead found that remdesivir, in conjunction with Eli Lilly And Co's (NYSE: LLY) rheumatoid arthritis drug baricitinib, lowered the median recovery time among patients, O'Day said. 

Other ongoing studies include how remdesivir can be used outside a hospital setting and as an inhaled version.

"We are not finished with remdesivir," he said.

Eli Lilly CEO On Baricitinib: The benefits of combining Gilead's therapy with Eli Lilly's baricitinib is "important news" in the battle against the disease, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The successful results from a controlled study not only show that patients can recover one day sooner in the hospital, but also see other health improvements, the CEO said. 

30,000 people are hospitalized in the U.S., and many of them could benefit from the combination, provided it is approved by the FDA, he said. 

Benzinga is covering every angle of how the coronavirus affects the financial world. For daily updates, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

Pfizer CEO On Vaccine Timeline: An FDA advisory committee will gather on Oct. 22 to discuss vaccines.

It's "unlikely, but certainly not impossible" for Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) to have its vaccine results ready to be presented then, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

The company has a "very good sense" it will be able to offer a conclusive efficacy readout of its Phase 3 vaccine trials before the end of October, the CEO said.

Pfizer isn't committing to any firm deadline, as it is "just a date," he said. 

The FDA is looking for companies to demonstrate their vaccines that are at least 50% effective, and this is a reasonable target, Bourla said.

The 50% target is a "good rate," but Pfizer is hoping for a better outcome, the CEO said. 

Pfizer's initial objective of studying vaccine results in 30,000 people as part of the Phase 3 trial is mostly complete, he said.

The company is now expanding its trial to around 44,000 people, as it has gained a better understanding of the safety profile.

The expanded study will include more vulnerable individuals, including kids and those with chronic conditions, Bourla said. 

Related Links:

Moderna's Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Study Hits 78% Enrollment

Why AstraZeneca's Coronavirus Trial Halt May Not Be As Bad As It Sounds

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