2020 sales of Covid-19 therapies firm up


Gilead surprised investors yesterday with higher-than-expected 2020 guidance for Veklury, sales of which should come in at around $2.8bn, the company said. The recent Covid-19 surge was cited as a reason for the big consensus beat, presumably driven by demand in the US, where Gilead said that almost half of hospitalised patients are receiving Veklury. Usage is Europe is thought to be lower, although some countries seem to be using it more than others. The failure of several trials to establish a clear mortality benefit for Veklury caused sales expectations to be significantly reined in; perhaps the lack of other options and steroid shortages are persuading physicians to reach for what they have. 2020 sales of the antibodies approved so far, from Lilly and Regeneron, look more likely to come in where the sellside expects, recent statements from the companies indicate. The logistical problems of administering these infused therapies to pre-hospitalised patients has limited their usefulness; despite this both are seen bringing in respectable sales next year. Demand over the long term remains the big unknown with all of these products, and projections for now predict waning demand as vaccines bring the pandemic under control and, hopefully, better treatments emerge.

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