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Gilead Sciences files for approval of cobicistat

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) -- Gilead Sciences Inc. said Thursday it asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its drug cobicistat, a component of its proposed four-in-one HIV pill.

Cobicistat is designed to boost blood levels of some HIV drugs. It works by blocking an enzyme that breaks down drugs in the body. Gilead is studying cobicistat as part of the four-in-one Quad pill, and the drug is also being studied in combination with Johnson & Johnson's drug Prezista and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Reyataz.

The Quad pill combines two older HIV drugs, emtracitabine and tenofovir, with cobicistat and elvitegravir which is intended to prevent HIV from integrating into the genetic material in human cells. Gilead sells emtricitabine and tenofovir under the name Truvada, and the two drugs are part of its three-in-one HIV pill Atripla. Elvitegravir has also not yet been approved.

Shares of Gilead Sciences fell $1.21, or 2.4 percent, to $50.04 Thursday. The stock was unchanged in after-hours trading.