Gilead Set to Benefit From Newest HIV Drug

Feb. 18, 2010 2:23 PM ETGILD, TEVA, VTRS, MRK, BMY, PFE, GSK, ABT, JNJ
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Gilead Sciences (GILD) has gone some way to ensuring that its dominance of the HIV market continues after phase II data from its "Quad" pill presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showed non-inferiority to its second best-selling drug, Atripla.

This early win from the Quad pill has taken on significance because the group, which last year made $5.84 billion from selling its HIV drugs, is facing patent expiries of up to 90% of its revenues between 2017 and 2021. But generic challenges to the drugs could come earlier given that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA) has filed a generic challenge to both Atripla and Truvada, and Mylan (MYL) and Aurobindo Pharma both have tentative approvals for the two drugs, as well as Viread. With so much to lose a lot is riding on the success of the new drug.

The Quad is a single pill containing already approved Truvada and two new experimental drugs, elvitegravir and a booster drug GS 9350 (cobicistat). Elvitegravir is an integrase inhibitor, which prevents the RNA of HIV from merging with the DNA of human immune cells. Currently the only other inhibitor on the market is Merck & Co's (MRK) Isentress, which is also taken with Truvada. The booster element of the pill allows the drug to be taken once daily.

Increased efficacy?

This week’s detailed trial results showed that after 24 weeks 90% of patients who took the Quad had viral loads of less than 50 copies/mL of the HIV virus, compared with 83% of patients taking Atripla, a combination of Gilead’s Truvada and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Sustiva.

Importantly, the drug also showed fewer total adverse events; at 35%, a significant improvement on Atripla’s 57%. Like many current HIV drugs, Atripla has CNS side effects that are largely manifested in psychological disturbances such as abnormal dreams and

This article was written by

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EP Vantage is a forward-looking comment and analysis service tailored to the needs of pharma and finance professionals, focusing on the events that will define the future of companies, products and therapy areas. Written by experienced journalists, EP Vantage provides timely financial analysis of regulatory and patent decisions, marketing approvals, licensing deals, and M&A, giving fresh angles and insight to both current and future industry triggers. EP Vantage is powered by EvaluatePharma, the industry leader in consensus forecasts.

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