Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) and Roche are to assess the combination of their drugs remdesivir and Actemra in severe coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
The two pharma giants will recruit 450 patients globally and begin a phase III trial in June.
Gilead’s remdesivir, an investigational antiviral, is currently approved as emergency treatment for coronavirus in several countries after three trials confirmed it allows for a faster recovery.
Roche has also been studying the effectiveness of arthritis treatment Actemra in coronavirus patients, with results expected in the summer.
“Based on our current understanding, we believe that combining an antiviral with an immune modulator could potentially be an effective approach to treating patients with severe disease,” said Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development.
Shares in Gilead dipped 1% to US$74.29 in premarket trading.