John C. Martin, who grew to become a billionaire by growing and advertising and marketing a day by day single-dose capsule 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, primarily based 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The trigger was head accidents suffered the day earlier than, when he fell on a sidewalk whereas strolling dwelling in Outdated Palo Alto, in response to the Santa Clara County health worker.
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 primarily based 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 capsule, Tamiflu, which the corporate licensed to the Swiss drugmaker Hoffman-La Roche in 1996. Its advance in opposition to hepatitis C got here in 2014, with the advertising and marketing of Sovaldi, which has been mentioned to treatment 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 permitted to deal with the virus; the drug went on to achieve approval as a method to stop H.I.V. an infection in 2012.
The corporate’s greatest 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 capsule, changing as many as 32 separate drugs that some sufferers had been taking day by day to deal with the virus, which may result in AIDS.
The one-pill therapy was meant to be greater than a comfort. By making it simpler for sufferers to self-medicate, they had been extra prone to take the total doses that had 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 in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whereas the corporate’s annual income soared previous $20 billion and its merchandise had 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 hearth from state and federal regulators over the prices it charged — $1,000-a-month for Sustiva and $1,000 for every hepatitis capsule.
Dr. Martin defended Gilead in an opinion article in The Wall Road Journal in 2017. He argued, amongst different issues, that prime costs for profitable merchandise had been wanted to subsidize future analysis.
At this time in Enterprise
The corporate’s defenders additionally identified that Gilead had donated drugs in some circumstances and that it had partnered with local manufacturers in growing international locations 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, mentioned in an announcement, “might be felt for generations to return, dwelling on by the scientific progress made underneath his management and the applications he championed that expanded entry to drugs for individuals all over the world.”
John Charles Martin was born on Might 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 medicine, 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 associate, Lillian Lien-Li Lou, who was listed in a latest submitting because the secretary-treasury of the John C. Martin Basis, whose acknowledged mission is to enhance well being look after medically-underserved populations.