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China Files for Patent to Gilead's Remdesivir, the Front-Runner for Coronavirus Treatment
China researchers have filed for a China Invention Patent to remdesivir, a Gilead (NSDQ: GILD) candidate to treat the coronavirus. According to people familiar with China patent law, they are unlikely to succeed because Gilead owns global IP for the molecule itself and for its use as a coronavirus treatment. The experts further noted that the researchers did not file for a Compulsory Use patent, a more "heavy handed" approach that would give China authorities the right to use the drug for a dire need. The experts reasoned the choice shows China does not want to unsettle global IP standards. Instead, as the China researchers noted, if the "relevant international company" (meaning Gilead) agrees to supply remdesivir, China will not enforce the patent.
The researchers, who are at two China institutions, conducted a joint research project to screen seven possible treatments for the 2019 new coronavirus. They found that, in pre-clinical studies, Gilead Science's remdesivir (GS-5734) at half-strength together with chloroquine phosphate, a 70-year-old China-discovered malaria treatment, effectively inhibited 2019-nCoV infection at the cellular level. They filed for the patent on January 21, well before the dramatic outbreak in coronavirus cases.
Gilead said its staff is working "night and day" to increase supplies of remdesivir as quickly as possible.
Remdesivir has become the first choice as a treatment for 2019-nCoV. When the potential severity of the 2019-nCoV outbreak first became clear, an AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) fixed-dose HIV drug known as Kaletra (also Aluvia) was the first-named candidate for 2019-nCoV treatment. Kaletra has two components, lopinavir and ritonavir, both of which are protease inhibitors that are designed to block HIV viral replication. Now, the researchers believe remdesivir is the best option, even though it has not been as extensively tested in humans.
The research was conducted by scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences / National Center for Biosafety and the National Academy of Military Medical Research Institute of Emergency Medicine for Prevention and Control of Drugs. It was published under the title of "Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro" in an international journal, Cell Research.
The combination has been reported to national, provincial and municipal health authorities.
Yesterday, ChinaBio® Today reported that Gilead and China authorities have started a China Phase III trial of remdesivir (GS-5734). The trial will enroll 270 infected patients with mild and moderate 2019-nCoV infections. It will be based in the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing. The trial is a Phase III randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter study that will evaluate the efficacy and safety of remdesivir in hospitalized adult patients with a completions date of April 27.