Pfizer (PFE) has entered into a multi-year agreement with Gilead Sciences (GILD) for the production of remdesivir as the companies look to deliver the drug to the masses to combat COVID-19.

Under the partnership, Pfizer will provide contract manufacturing services at its McPherson, Kansas, plant to produce and supply remdesivir for Gilead.

The news of the agreement follows Pfizer’s call to pharmaceutical companies, biotech firms, government agencies and academic institutions to work together in fighting the COVID-19 crisis.

“From the beginning it was clear that no one company or innovation would be able to bring an end to the COVID-19 crisis,” Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO at Pfizer said in a statement. “Pfizer’s agreement with Gilead is an excellent example of members of the innovation ecosystem working together to deliver medical solutions.

“Together, we are more powerful than alone. ... In that spirit, we are pleased that Gilead is using our manufacturing capacity to help facilitate supply of this medicine to patients as quickly as possible.”

Gilead has said it aiming to supply enough remdesiver – an antiviral drug – by the end of 2020 to treat more than 2 million COVID-19 patients with plans in place to produce “several million more” doses in 2021.

The company has also agreed to sell nearly its entire supply of remdesivir to the U.S. through September and has said that it has grown its manufacturing capabilities to more than 40 companies in North America, Europe, and Asia to ensure capacity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any drug for treating the coronavirus, which has infected more than 19 million people globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. COVID-19 has killed over 700,000 people worldwide.

In May, the FDA granted emergency-use authorization for the use of remdesivir by hospitals and doctors in treating COVID-19 patients without formal approval from the agency.

Shares of Pfizer were trading at $38.28 as of 10:26 a.m. ET, up 1 cent or 0.03% and shares of Gilead were trading at $69.18, up 37 cents or 0.54% at the same time.

Pfizer began dosing patients in the US with a coronavirus vaccine Pfizer began dosing patients in the US yesterday with a coronavirus vaccine Photo: AFP / Don EMMERT