John C. Martin, who turned a billionaire by growing and advertising and marketing a every day single-dose tablet that reworked H.I.V. right into a manageable illness and who popularized one other drug that cures hepatitis C, died on March 30 in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 69.
His loss of life, in a hospital, was confirmed by Gilead Sciences, based mostly in Foster Metropolis, Calif., the place he was chief government from 1996 to 2016 and government chairman from 2016 till he retired two years later. The trigger was head accidents suffered the day earlier than, when he fell on a sidewalk whereas strolling house in Outdated Palo Alto, based on the Santa Clara County medical expert.
A chemist who rocketed from analysis director to chief government of Gilead in six years, Dr. Martin turned a struggling pharmaceutical agency with a employees of 35 right into a $100 billion firm based mostly in Foster Metropolis, Calif., with some 12,000 staff.
Gilead jolted the business with a number of main scientific breakthroughs, starting with the event of the primary anti-influenza tablet, Tamiflu, which the corporate licensed to the Swiss drugmaker Hoffman-La Roche in 1996. Its advance towards hepatitis C got here in 2014, with the advertising and marketing of Sovaldi, which has been stated to remedy 90 p.c of sufferers with that liver virus.
Gilead’s work on H.I.V. started to bear fruit in 2004, when its Truvada was authorized to deal with the virus; the drug went on to realize approval as a way to forestall H.I.V. an infection in 2012.
The corporate’s largest advance on the H.I.V. entrance got here in 2006, with Atripla, which mixed Truvada with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Sustiva in a single tablet, changing as many as 32 separate medicines that some sufferers have been taking every day to deal with the virus, which might result in AIDS.
The one-pill remedy was meant to be greater than a comfort. By making it simpler for sufferers to self-medicate, they have been extra more likely to take the complete doses that have been prescribed, decreasing the danger that they may develop into breeding grounds for drug-resistant strains of the illness.
Throughout Dr. Martin’s tenure, Gilead additionally created remdesivir in 2009, which proved ineffective in its authentic mission, to deal with hepatitis C and different viruses, however which turned out to be a therapeutic weapon throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whereas the corporate’s annual income soared previous $20 billion and its merchandise have been hailed as medical miracles, the federal Division of Well being and Human Providers efficiently claimed that Gilead had infringed authorities patents in making Truvada. The corporate additionally drew fireplace from state and federal regulators over the costs it charged — $1,000-a-month for Sustiva and $1,000 for every hepatitis tablet.
Dr. Martin defended Gilead in an opinion article in The Wall Avenue Journal in 2017. He argued, amongst different issues, that prime costs for profitable merchandise have been wanted to subsidize future analysis.
At the moment in Enterprise
The corporate’s defenders additionally identified that Gilead had donated medication in some instances and that it had partnered with native producers in growing nations to supply discounted generic variations of some remedies for H.I.V. and hepatitis C.
“John’s legacy,” Daniel O’Day, the corporate’s chief government, stated in an announcement, “might be felt for generations to return, dwelling on by the scientific progress made underneath his management and the packages he championed that expanded entry to medicines for individuals all over the world.”
John Charles Martin was born on Could 7, 1951, in Easton, Pa., the son of Tellis Alexander Martin, a chemist for Bristol-Myers, and Janet (Sacks) Martin, who taught chemistry, physics and laptop literacy at a prep faculty in Indiana.
Mr. Martin earned a bachelor’s diploma in chemical engineering from Purdue College, the place he met Rosemary Carella at a celebration; they married in 1977 and every earned a grasp’s diploma (his in enterprise administration and advertising and marketing) from Golden Gate College in San Francisco. He later acquired a doctorate in natural chemistry from the College of Chicago.
After working at Syntex Company, one other drugmaker, from 1978 to 1984, Mr. Martin was director of antiviral chemistry at Bristol-Myers Squibb till 1990, when he joined Gilead.
As chief government, he and John Milligan, who would develop into his successor, engineered the $11 billion takeover of Pharmasset, a developer of antiviral medication, in 2012. Along with operating Gilead, Dr. Martin was president of the Worldwide Society for Antiviral Analysis from 1998 to 2000.
His marriage to Ms. Martin led to divorce. Amongst his survivors are their son and daughter, his three siblings and his companion, Lillian Lien-Li Lou, who was listed in a latest submitting because the secretary-treasury of the John C. Martin Basis, whose said mission is to enhance well being look after medically-underserved populations.