Shares of Gilead Sciences GILD gained 3.76% on Mar 13 as, per reports, its experimental candidate, remdesivir, showed promising results in 14 Americans hospitalized in Japan for the treatment of COVID-19.
In fact, shares have gained 4.8% in the past month against the industry’s decline of 12.9%. While the broader market is seeing a massive decline amid global selloffs, Gilead’s shares have gained as it is now the frontrunner in the race of companies developing treatments for COVID-19.
Last week, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic, given the alarming levels of spread and severity.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved treatments for the same. While big companies like AbbVie are working with health authorities to evaluate the efficacy of drugs in hand, developing a cure for this disease has become a race against time. Given the widespread outbreak, the spotlight is particularly on companies, which are developing treatments/vaccines for the same.
The company pioneering the race is Gilead, which has initiated two phase III studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19. These randomized, open-label, multicenter studies will enroll approximately 1,000 patients at medical centers primarily across Asian countries. The studies will assess two dosing durations of the candidate, administered intravenously. Reportedly, remdesivir is already being used in the United States for the treatment of the disease under federal rules that allow the use of unapproved drugs on compassionate grounds.
Remdesivir was previously under testing for Ebola virus. As the candidate has shown promising results in the infected patients, investors are banking on Gilead for being the first company to come up with a treatment for this deadly disease. Per reports, the 14 Americans who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and got infected with COVID-19 were given remdesivir intravenously once a day for 10 days. More than half of them have recovered post the treatment.
Apart from Gilead Sciences, smaller biotechs like Vir Biotechnology, Inc. VIR and Moderna MRNA have grabbed the spotlight as they strive to develop treatments to fight this pandemic. Vir Biotechnology recently signed a letter of intent with biotech bigwig, Biogen Inc. BIIB, for the development and clinical manufacturing of human monoclonal antibodies for the potential treatment of COVID-19.
Gilead currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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