COVID-19 treatments earned 4 drugmakers $14B in 2021

Monoclonal antibody therapies and antivirals to treat COVID-19 collectively earned Eli Lilly, Gilead Sciences, Merck, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals more than $14 billion in 2021, MarketWatch reported Feb. 4. 

Here is what each of the drugmakers made in sales from their COVID-19 treatments last year, based off year-end earnings reports cited by MarketWatch

Regeneron: $5.8 billion from monoclonal antibodies

Gilead Sciences: $5.5 billion from Veklury, an antiviral

Eli Lilly: $2.2 billion from monoclonal antibodies 

Merck: $1 billion from molnupiravir, an antiviral

These treatments were mostly reserved for severely ill patients, used as in-hospital treatments. As the omicron surge begins to recede and at-home antivirals — like Pfizer's Paxlovid and Merck's molnupiravir — become more available to people with mild to moderate disease, drugmakers expect to earn less from the other treatments in 2022. 

"We expect COVID treatment to evolve to oral direct antivirals, particularly once Paxlovid and molnupiravir become more broadly available in the coming months, which alongside waning case numbers should decrease the need for [Gilead's] Veklury," Brian Abrahams, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets told investors Feb. 1, according to MarketWatch

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