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Gilead Sciences rises on new HIV drug data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. moved higher Tuesday after the company reported more clinical trial data for an experimental HIV pill.

Gilead had previously said the new pill, called TAF, worked about as well as the company's Stribild tablet in a mid-stage clinical trial, but had lower rates of side effects related to kidney problems and bone loss. The Foster City, Calif., company is comparing the four-in-one pill to Stribild, which also combines four drugs and was approved in August.

Gilead has started late-stage trials of the new drug regimen. Stribild 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. It also sells tenofovir under the name Viread.

TAF contains a newer form of tenofovir.

Gilead shares picked up $1.15, or 2.6 percent, to $45.02 on Tuesday. The shares have been trading at all-time highs and peaked at $45.58 during the day.

Barclays analyst C. Anthony Butler said he is encouraged by the clinical data Gilead has reported on TAF, and noted that the drug is patent-protected until 2025 — well after the patents on older Gilead drugs like Viread and Atripla expire. He rates the shares "Overweight" with a price target of $42.