Information on Federal Contributions to Remdesivir

A new report released by the U.S. GAO reveals that the U.S. government doesn’t have patent rights to remdesivir, despite having invested millions in research.

Remdesivir is an antiviral drug patented and manufactured by Gilead. It was the first drug approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19. This report examines scientific and funding contributions provided by CDC, DOD, and NIH for the development of remdesivir, and agencies’ patent rights related to those contributions.

As of December 2020, federal funding for preclinical studies and clinical trials involving remdesivir totalled about $162 million. However, the federal government does not have patent rights for the drug because the work contributed by U.S. scientists did not generate any inventive new uses, according to a government report.

In addition, Gilead entered research collaborations with federal agencies and universities with a portfolio of existing patents and patent applications, including the remdesivir compound, which would have left little room for the agencies to generate their own patents.