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Bullish on Gilead's Stribild

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Stribild is one of the most interesting newly launched drugs in Gilead Sciences, Inc.’s (GILD - Free Report) product portfolio. The drug was launched in the U.S. in Aug 2012 as a first-line therapy for treating adults with HIV-1 infection. Sales of Stribild climbed 8% sequentially to $99.4 million in the second quarter of 2013. The EU approval of the drug in May 2013 has boosted the sales potential of the drug.

Stribild is a combination of elvitegravir, cobicistat and Truvada. We note that Truvada itself is a combination of Viread and Emtriva.

Encouraging long-term data from 2 phase III studies (102 and 103) on Stribild in treat-naïve HIV patients were presented by Gilead at the 14th European AIDS Clinical Society Conference in Belgium. Study 102 compared Stribild to Atripla and study 103 compared Stribild to Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted Reyataz plus Truvada. While Norvir is marketed by AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Free Report) , Reyataz is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Free Report) .

Data from the study 102 revealed that Stribild was non-inferior to Atripla after 144 weeks of treatment. Data from the study 103 demonstrated the non inferiority of Stribild to Norvir (ritonavir)-boosted Reyataz plus Truvada after a similar time period. Durable viral suppression was demonstrated by Stribild in both the studies over the treatment period. Both studies are ongoing in a blinded manner.

We expect the strong performance of Stribild to continue as the HIV market offers significant commercial potential. Approval in additional markets will boost the drug’s sales potential further. We view Stribild as one of the long-term growth drivers at Gilead.

Gilead, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN - Free Report) appears to be more attractive in the biopharma space with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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