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Hearing Takeover Rumors about Gilead Sciences

Posted by on April 18, 2017 6:40 PM
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Categories: Stocks

April 18, 2017: Hearing vague takeover rumors circulating about Gilead Sciences. The rumor is that activist firm Jana Partners is taking a large position in order to push for a takeover. Could not find a credible source of the rumor.

April 7, 2017: The FDA approves new indications for Gilead Sciences’ Harvoni and Sovaldi in pediatric patients 12 years and older with chronic Hepatitis C infection. The FDA approved supplemental indications for Harvoni® (ledipasvir 90 mg/sofosbuvir 400 mg) tablets and Sovaldi® (sofosbuvir 400 mg) tablets for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adolescents without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis, 12 years of age and older, or weighing at least 35kg. Harvoni was approved for pediatric patients with genotype 1, 4, 5 or 6 chronic HCV infection. Sovaldi was approved for pediatric patients with genotype 2 or 3 chronic HCV infection, in combination with ribavirin. There are an estimated 23,000-46,000 pediatric HCV patients in the United States, most of whom were infected with the virus at birth.

Harvoni and Sovaldi each have a boxed warning in their respective product labels regarding the risk of hepatitis B virus reactivation in HCV/HBV co-infected patients.

Karen Murray, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s said, “The approvals of Sovaldi and Harvoni for pediatric patients will enable adolescents to finally benefit from interferon-free treatment for HCV infection. These therapies address a significant unmet medical need and represent an important advance for HCV-infected adolescents.”

April 3, 2017: Alberta lists Gilead Sciences’ EPCLUSA on public drug plan to treat all six genotypes of chronic Hep C infection.

Effective immediately, Alberta will provide public access to EPCLUSA™ (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir) tablets, the first once-daily, pan-genotypic single tablet regimen for the treatment of adults with genotype 1-6 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. This listing will support patients to access curative therapy, and will advance Canada’s efforts to achieving its World Health Organization commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030.

The approval of EPCLUSA was supported by data from four international Phase 3 studies, ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2, ASTRAL-3 and ASTRAL-4. Of the 1,035 patients without cirrhosis or with compensated cirrhosis treated with EPCLUSA for 12 weeks in the ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2 and ASTRAL-3 studies, 1,015 (98 per cent) achieved SVR12 (sustained virologic response 12 weeks after the end of treatment). In ASTRAL-4, patients with decompensated cirrhosis who received EPCLUSA with RBV for 12 weeks achieved a high SVR12 rate (94 per cent) compared to those who received EPCLUSA for 12 weeks or 24 weeks without RBV (83 per cent and 86 per cent, respectively). The most common adverse events in the four ASTRAL studies were headache and fatigue, and were comparable in incidence to the placebo group included in ASTRAL-1.

February 14, 2017: JP Morgan making positive comments about Gilead Sciences, reiterates their Overweight rating. JP Morgan says that ahead of a presentation today at CROI (2/13-17, Seattle), GILD released the anticipated results from the Phase 2 trial evaluating its novel unboosted integrase inhibitor bictegravir (BIC) vs. ViiV’s dolutegravir (DTG) in treatment naive HIV patients at a press briefing yesterday evening. The actual presentation will take place in a session this afternoon (from 1-3pm ET), but data in the press release are indeed positive showing that the BIC based regimen achieved similar (numerically better) results to the DTG based regimen with a similarly clean safety profile.

In JP Morgan’s prior discussions with doctors (pre-data), they uniformly expressed interest in a TAF based product that did not have the concerns associated with the booster, with one doctor noting “that would be a real game changer… if [efficacy] were similar to Triumeq, it would jump to the front.” JP Morgan thinks B/F/TAF could help Gilead Sciences maintain market share in the increasingly competitive HIV space, and this is the only pipeline asset firm currently assigns direct credit to in their GILD model ($2.6B in sales by 2020). Importantly, this single tablet regimen would have patent protection through 2033.

February 13, 2017: Hearing rumors circulating that Carl Icahn may be taking a stake in Gilead Sciences. I could not find the source of the rumors; however, Gilead Sciences is a value play right now trading at a P/E of 6.81 and so it makes sense that value investors like Icahn could be interested in the company.

February 07, 2017: Gilead Sciences reports Q4 EPS of $2.70 versus the $2.43 estimate. Revenue also beat coming in at $7.22 billion versus the $7.17 billion estimate. Gilead increases their dividend 10% to $0.52/shr from $0.47 (yield 2.84%).

– Harvoni sales $1.6B (received regulatory approval in Oct 2014) versus $3.3B y/y
– Sovaldi sales $541M versus $1.5B y/y
– Atripla $607M versus $800M y/y
– Truvada $868M versus $936M y/y
– Viread $324M versus $306M y/y

January 18, 2017: Hearing vague takeover rumors circulating about Gilead Sciences. Could not verify the source of the rumors. Reminder: back on January 6, 2017 heard rumors circulating that an activist investor like Carl Icahn could get involved.

January 10, 2017: Gilead Sciences announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for Vemlidy (tenofovir alafenamide, TAF) 25 mg, a once-daily tablet for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in adults and adolescents (aged 12 years and older with body weight at least 35 kg).

The marketing authorization allows for the marketing of TAF in the 28 countries of the European Union, Norway and Iceland.

TAF is a novel, targeted prodrug of tenofovir that has demonstrated antiviral efficacy similar to Gileads Viread(tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, TDF) 245 mg, but at one-tenth the dose. Data show that because TAF has greater plasma stability and more efficiently delivers tenofovir to hepatocytes (cells of the liver) compared to TDF, it can be given at a lower dose, which means there is less tenofovir in the bloodstream. By reducing exposure to tenofovir, TAF is associated with improved renal and bone laboratory safety parameters compared to TDF in clinical trials.

TAFs approval is supported by 48-week data from two international Phase 3 studies (Studies 108 and 110) in 1,298 adult chronic HBV patients. Study 108 randomized 425 HBeAg-negative patients to receive either TAF or TDF, and Study 110 randomized 873 HBeAg-positive patients to receive either TAF or TDF. Both studies met their primary endpoint of non-inferiority to TDF based on the percentage of patients with chronic hepatitis B with plasma HBV DNA levels below 29 IU/mL at 48 weeks of therapy. Patients in the TAF arm of the trials also experienced numerically higher rates of normalization of blood serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Both studies showed TAF and TDF to be well-tolerated by patients and discontinuations due to adverse events were 1% and 1.2%, respectively. The most common reported adverse events with TAF were diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, flatulence, fatigue, headache, dizziness, rash, pruritus, increased ALT and arthralgia.

While the primary efficacy assessment was performed at week 48, data show that at week 72 viral suppression as well as biochemical responses were maintained with continued TAF treatment. The safety assessment includes analyses performed at both week 48 and week 72 of treatment (median duration of exposure of 88 weeks), and safety endpoints included changes from baseline in bone mineral density at the hip and spine, and changes from baseline in serum creatinine and in eGFR, key indicators of renal health. In both studies, at weeks 48 and 72, changes in renal and bone laboratory safety parameters favored the TAF treatment groups.

Vemlidy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on November 10, 2016 for the treatment of chronic HBV infection in adults with compensated liver disease, and by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on December 19, 2016 for the suppression of viral replication in chronic hepatitis B patients with evidence of hepatitis B virus replication and abnormal liver function.

January 9, 2017: Biotechnology firm Gilead Sciences stock is putting in a multiple bottom as Barclays reiterates an Overweight rating on the stock and sets a price target of $105. Gilead Sciences stock trades at a P/E of 7.04 and a forward P/E of 7.02. Barclays says that Gileads comments seem to imply that near-term expectations are mostly reasonable, but it did not address the issue of M&A and business development, which are more pressing topics in the minds of investors. While Barclays did not expect management to identify specific markets or therapeutic categories, they did expect a more proactive stance to be taken in the presentation. That said, managements tone seem to be positive overall with regard to operational trends and the pipeline, and Barclays sees relatively low risk of further multiple compression at current levels.

January 6, 2017: Hearing vague activist investor rumors circulating about Gilead Sciences. The rumor is that Icahn could get involved.

Gilead Sciences Stock Chart


The Finviz screener settings used to find Gilead Sciences are: P/E Under 10, Forward P/E Under 10, EPS growth this year 60% – 65%, EPS growth past 5 years 40% – 50%

Gilead Sciences Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.

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