Encouraging Data Presented by Gilead

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Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) recently presented encouraging data on its chronic angina drug Ranexa (ranolazine) from a phase IV study (TERISA: n=927). The TERISA (Type 2 Diabetes Evaluation of Ranolazine in Subjects with Chronic Stable Angina) evaluated the efficacy of drug (as a combination therapy) in chronic stable angina patients with concurrent type II diabetes. Angina refers to a type of chest pain that occurs due to lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Gilead presented the data at the 62nd annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology.

The patients evaluated in the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study remained symptomatic for angina even after being treated with a stable dose of one or two concomitant antianginal agents.

Results from the study revealed that type II diabetes patients treated with Ranexa experienced a significant reduction in weekly episodes of chronic angina compared to those in the placebo. Gilead stated in its press release that angina results from exertion or emotional stress.  GILD further stated that diabetes patients have more extensive coronary artery disease and a propensity for greater angina burden as opposed to non- diabetes patients.

Gilead is evaluating Ranexa in multiple studies apart from TERISA in patients with chronic angina and/or type II diabetes. Ranexa has performed well in phase II studies in patients with chronic angina and/or type II diabetes. Top-line results from 3 phase III studies for the new indication are expected by the end of the year. We note that 2012 sales of Ranexa, which is marketed for the chronic angina indication, climbed 17% to $372.9 million. If Ranexa is approved for treating patients with chronic angina and/or type II diabetes then the sales potential of the drug would be boosted.

Gilead, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Biopharma stocks such as Array Biopharma (ARRY), Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (CLDX) and Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (KYTH) are comparatively well placed and carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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