Hikma Pharmaceuticals has started manufacturing remdesivir, an approved treatment for Covid-19 from US-based Gilead, for an undisclosed amount at its facility in Portugal, the British company's chief executive officer said.
It will supply the first batches of the antiviral drug "soon," and Gilead is expected to distribute the treatment, CEO Siggi Olafsson told Reuters on Friday.
"The terms of the deal are confidential, we are simply a contract manufacturer for Gilead - they order products from us as they expect the sales to be," he said.
Remdesivir has been a front-runner treatment for the illness caused by the new coronavirus. Administered intravenously and conditionally approved or supported in many regions to treat Covid-19, which has killed more than 800,000 people globally, the drug had failed tests as a treatment for Ebola.
Gilead had said in June it was aiming to supply enough drug by the end of the year to treat more than 2 million Covid-19 patients, more than double its prior target of 1 million.
The drugmaker has signed several pacts with generic medicine makers in Egypt, India and Pakistan to distribute remdesivir in 127 countries. The deals include those with Cipla Jubilant and privately held Hetero.
Hikma's deal, which analysts have said highlights its "growing importance as a trusted source of essential medicines," was announced along with its interim earnings results on Friday.