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Analyst Sees Low Complera Hopes

Ahead of the Bell: Analyst Sees Low Complera Hopes

From Associated Press (August 11, 2011)

FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- Expectations are low for Gilead Sciences Inc.'s new, once-per-day HIV treatment Complera, according to a Jefferies survey of physicians.

Gilead, based in Foster City, Calif., said Wednesday the Food and Drug Administration has approved the treatment, which combines Gilead's drug Truvada with Johnson & Johnson's Edurant. The new pill is approved as a stand-alone treatment for patients who have not previously been treated for HIV.

Gilead said Complera is the second once-per-day drug intended for untreated HIV patients. The first was Atripla, which is marketed by Gilead and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

Analyst Thomas Wei said in a research note expectations for Complera are low due to an increased rate of virologic failure seen in late-stage testing. Wei said doctors placed it as their third choice when considering prescriptions for front-line regimens over the next year.

The analyst said Complera could fall to fourth when Gilead launches its four-drug quad pill to replace Altripla, the current preferred treatment and the cornerstone of the drug maker's HIV franchise. The survey found that doctors expect the quad pill to gain significant market share from Atripla if it proves superior in a late-stage trial. Results from that are expected in this quarter.

Wei wrote that he was "incrementally more positive" about Gilead, but the analyst is awaiting the late-stage study results.


Posted: August 2011