Gilead’s New HIV Treatment Doesn’t Disappoint, or Does It?

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While Gilead Sciences’ (NASDAQ:GILD) newest HIV treatment was added to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines as an alternative HIV treatment in September, trial results show that the drug is neither more effective nor less effective than the current standard of care.

On Thursday, Gilead announced the results of a two-year long study that evaluated the company’s HIV treatment Stribild, noting that the once-daily combination drug was “non-inferior” when compared to the other medications tested in the study. Atripla, Gilead’s highest selling drug, is the current standard of care for the disease, along with another of the company’s treatments, Truvada. Stribild was examined against the treatment regimen of atazanavir boosted with ritonavir (both non Gilead products) and Truvada.

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Stribild has already received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and Barclays analyst Tony Butler told the Associated Press that the drug should be approved in Europe as well. Currently, a marketing application for Stribild is under review in the European Union.

Although the drug was shown to have a lower incidence of certain central nervous system side effects compared to Atripla, Citi Investment Research analyst Yaron Werber does not think it will become the next standard treatment. Rather, he believes that Complera, a drug the company developed in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), will replace Atripla as it has higher margins and has proven to increase patient life expectancy.

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