A Glance at Global Healthcare Super Stocks – Gilead, Sanofi, GSK, AstraZeneca, Roche

  • Apr 17, 2020 AEST
  • Team Kalkine
A Glance at Global Healthcare Super Stocks – Gilead, Sanofi, GSK, AstraZeneca, Roche

The COVID-19 pandemic is a watershed moment in the global healthcare landscape. The spread of the COVID-19 has turned social behaviours and share markets on their heads. At the time of writing , over 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been identified across the globe, with nearly 1,44,243 deaths attributed to the disease. 

In spite of ongoing efforts by healthcare companies to find treatment options and develop antiviral vaccines, there is no doubt that the globe will be dealing with the physical and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic for many months to come.

In this article, we are highlighting some major global healthcare companies that are focused on the treatment of COVID-19.

Gilead-initiated Remdesivir Clinical Trials for COVID-19 Treatment

A research-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. is dedicated towards developing innovative medicines for life-threatening illnesses. The primary areas of focus for Gilead comprises of HIV, AIDS, liver disease, and serious cardiovascular as well as respiratory conditions.

Gilead is working diligently with health care authorities across the world to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic through the suitable experimental use of its investigational antiviral drug- remdesivir.  The Chicago hospital is curing severe Covid-19 patients with remdesivir in a strictly observed clinical trial and is observing the speedy recoveries in fever as well as in respiratory indications, with almost all patients discharged from the hospitals in less than a week’s time.

Remdesivir, in lab tests, is one of the first drugs acknowledged for having the potential to inhibit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

The globe has been waiting for findings from clinical trials of Gilead, and positive outcomes would likely lead to fast approvals by the FDA and other regulatory authorities across the nations. It is noteworthy that, it could turn out to be the first approved drug against COVID-19 if proved safe and effective.

Gilead has initiated two Phase 3 clinical trials for evaluating the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19 subsequent to the rapid review and acceptance by the US FDA rapid for investigational new drug filing of Gilead. 

These trials are open-label, randomised, multicenter studies and commenced enrolling patients in March 2020. Moreover, the Company mentioned that it would enroll nearly 1k patients in the initial phase of the trials, in the nations with a high-level incidence of COVID-19.

These two studies will evaluate the safety and efficacy of both five days and a ten-day dosing duration of remdesivir, in addition to standard of care, for patients with severe and moderate manifestations of COVID-19 in the first and second clinical trial, respectively.

AstraZeneca’s CALAVI Clinical Trial With Calquence Against COVID-19

Cambridge based healthcare company AstraZeneca is a global biopharmaceutical entity that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines. AstraZeneca primarily focuses on the treatment of diseases in therapeutic areas of oncology, respiratory, cardiovascular, and renal & metabolism.

AstraZeneca would initiate testing of one of its novel tumor medicines to find out if the drug can aid in easing the COVID-19 triggered excessive immune response ensuing respiratory failure or disease like pneumonia in some patients. In a few patients, this infection triggers an extreme immune reaction named as a cytokine storm, that could lead to death.

The trial, named as CALAVI, is centered on initial clinical information with Calquence indicating that a reduction in inflammation triggered by inhibition of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) seems to lessen the seriousness of respiratory distress induced by COVID-19.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adding Calquence to best supportive care for reducing the death and the requirement for ventilation in patients having life-imperiling symptoms of COVID-19. The treatment targets a protein known as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase protein that is involved in the regulation of inflammation.

Moreover, the Company notified that Calquence, treatment for lymphoma, may reduce the severity of respiratory distress by reducing the new coronavirus induced inflammation.

The drug will be tested in a large randomised trial on COVID-19 patients who are in hospital, comprising some in intensive care unit (ICU). The Company highlighted that the first few participants would be recruited in the United States and several European countries during upcoming days.



Roche’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The world’s largest biotech company, Roche is an international pioneer in pharma and diagnostics space that lays emphasis on advancing science to enhance individual’s lives.

In response to COVID-19, the Company has initiated Actemra/RoActemra Phase III clinical study in the patients having severe COVID-19 pneumonia and are hospitalised.

Roche revealed that the Company is working with the FDA to initiate a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III clinical trial in collaboration with the BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research & Development Authority).

This study would be a part of the US Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), for evaluating the safety and efficacy of Actemra®/RoActemra® with the standard of care in adult patients with severe pneumonia triggered by COVID-19 compared to placebo and standard of care.

This is the first international clinical trial of tocilizumab in this setting and is anticipated to commence enrolling of patients in April with the aim of nearly 330 patients across the world, including the United States.

Currently, this drug is not approved to be utilised by any health agencies, counting the US FDA as well.



Sanofi and GSK Collaborates To Fight COVID-19

A global biopharmaceutical company, Sanofi, is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges and is engaged in treating illness with vaccines.

Global healthcare player, GSK is working with the aim to help people do more, feel better and live longer. The Company is a leader in producing vaccines at the international level. 

On 14 April 2020, both the companies revealed that they signed a letter of intent (LOI) for a collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine to treat the coronavirus disease, using pioneering technology from both, to support in tackling the ongoing pandemic.

According to this agreement, Sanofi would contribute its rDNA (Recombinant DNA) technology-based S-protein COVID-19 antigen. This technology has developed a similar genetic to the proteins that are noticed on the virus surface.

On the other side, GSK would provide its pandemic adjuvant technology which is to the collaboration. The application of an adjuvant could be of specific importance during a pandemic since it might lessen the amount the requirement of vaccine protein per dose and hence allowing more vaccine doses to be produced and therefore contributing toward protecting people. 

Both the companies intend to commence phase I clinical studies in the H2 period of 2020 and, if found effective and fulfills regulatory concerns, they intend to complete the development required for accessibility by the H2 2021. 

Remarkably, this collaboration demonstrates a significant mark in GSK’s and Sanofi’s ongoing contributions to support the global fight with this pandemic.

ALSO READ: GSK Join Forces with Sanofi To Develop Covid-19 Vaccine


In a nutshell, all the healthcare giants are working towards the development of treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, but the process is time taking and according to WHO and experts the estimated time for regulatory approval of any effective vaccine could be 12 to 18 months.

During this pandemic, every person should follow the COVID-19 guidelines, stay safe and focus in boosting their immunity to fight with COVID-19 if unluckily, they catch the coronavirus.

Want to know how to boost immunity during this pandemic, Do Read- Ways to Boost Your Immune System to Combat COVID-19

ALSO READ: Five Key things from COVID-19 Guidelines

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