Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) announced topline results from four international Phase 3 clinical studies (ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2, ASTRAL-3 and ASTRAL-4) evaluating a once-daily, fixed-dose combination of the nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor sofosbuvir (SOF) with velpatasvir (VEL), an investigational pangenotypic NS5A inhibitor, for the treatment of genotype 1-6 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

In the ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2, and ASTRAL-3 studies, 1,035 patients with genotype 1-6 HCV infection received 12 weeks of SOF/VEL. Among these patients, 21 percent had compensated cirrhosis and 28 percent had failed prior treatments. The ASTRAL-4 study randomized 267 patients with decompensated cirrhosis (Child-Pugh class B) to receive 12 weeks of SOF/VEL with or without ribavirin (RBV), or 24 weeks of SOF/VEL. The primary endpoint for all studies was SVR12.

The intent-to-treat SVR12 rates observed in the ASTRAL studies are summarized in the table below. Complete results from all four studies will be presented at future scientific conferences.

Study   Population   N   Treatment   Duration   SVR12 Rates



116 patients received placebo (SVR12=0%)


Genotypes 1,2,4,5,6

19 percent (121/624)
with cirrhosis

  624   SOF/VEL   12 weeks   Overall: 99% (618/624)

GT1: 98% (323/328)

GT2: 100% (104/104)

GT4: 100% (116/116)

GT5: 97% (34/35)

GT6: 100% (41/41)

ASTRAL-2   Genotype 2

14 percent (38/266)
with cirrhosis

  134   SOF/VEL   12 weeks   99% (133/134)
    132   SOF+RBV   12 weeks   94% (124/132)
ASTRAL-3   Genotype 3

30 percent (163/552)
with cirrhosis

  277   SOF/VEL   12 weeks   95% (264/277)
    275   SOF+RBV   24 weeks   80% (221/275)
ASTRAL-4   Genotypes 1-6

All with Child-Pugh class B (decompensated) cirrhosis

  90   SOF/VEL   12 weeks   83% (75/90)
    87   SOF/VEL+RBV   12 weeks   94% (82/87)
    90   SOF/VEL   24 weeks   86% (77/90)

Of the 1,035 patients treated with SOF/VEL for 12 weeks in the ASTRAL-1, ASTRAL-2 and ASTRAL-3 studies, 1,015 (98 percent) achieved the primary efficacy endpoint of SVR12. Of the 20 patients who did not achieve SVR12, 13 patients (1.3 percent) experienced virologic failure and seven did not complete an SVR12 visit (e.g., lost to follow-up). Twelve of the 13 virologic failure patients relapsed (two genotype 1 HCV-infected patients and 10 genotype 3 HCV-infected patients). There was one patient with documented reinfection. No patients with genotype 2, 4, 5 or 6 HCV infection had virologic failure.

Patients treated with SOF/VEL for 12 weeks in these three studies had similar adverse events compared with placebo-treated patients in ASTRAL-1. Two patients (0.2 percent) treated with SOF/VEL for 12 weeks, one each in ASTRAL-1 and ASTRAL-2, discontinued treatment due to adverse events. The most common adverse events were headache, fatigue and nausea.

In ASTRAL-4, patients with Child-Pugh class B cirrhosis receiving SOF/VEL+RBV achieved higher SVR12 rates than patients receiving SOF/VEL for 12 or 24 weeks. Among genotype 1 and 3 patients treated with SOF/VEL+RBV for 12 weeks, the SVR12 rates were 96 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

The most common adverse events across all arms of ASTRAL-4 were fatigue, nausea and headache. Anemia, a common side effect associated with RBV, was reported in 31 percent of patients in the SOF/VEL+RBV arm and in 4 percent and 3 percent of patients treated with SOF/VEL for 12 or 24 weeks, respectively. Treatment emergent serious adverse events occurred in 18 percent of patients and nine patients died. The majority of serious adverse events and deaths were associated with advanced liver disease.

“The ASTRAL study results demonstrate that a 12-week course of therapy with the first fixed-dose combination of two pan-genotypic compounds can provide high cure rates for patients with all HCV genotypes,” said Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Gilead. “We are pleased to have now brought forward our second single tablet regimen for HCV infection that complements Harvoni, our first single tablet regimen approved specifically for patients with genotype 1 infection and which could eliminate the need for HCV genotype testing. We look forward to advancing the regulatory submissions for the SOF/VEL fixed-dose combination.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has assigned the SOF/VEL fixed-dose combination a Breakthrough Therapy designation, which is granted to investigational medicines that may offer major advances in treatment over existing options.

The SOF/VEL fixed-dose combination is an investigational product and its safety and efficacy have not yet been established. (Original Source)

Shares of Gilead Sciences closed last Friday at $108.44. GILD has a 1-year high of $123.37 and a 1-year low of $85.95. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $109.96 and its 200-day moving average is $108.78.

On the ratings front, Gilead has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on July 29, Needham analyst Alan Carr maintained a Buy rating on GILD, with a price target of $125, which implies an upside of 15.3% from current levels. Separately, on the same day, Piper Jaffray’s Joshua Schimmer maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $134.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Alan Carr and Joshua Schimmer have a total average return of 36.0% and 8.4% respectively. Carr has a success rate of 70.7% and is ranked #5 out of 3765 analysts, while Schimmer has a success rate of 53.4% and is ranked #344.

The street is mostly Bullish on GILD stock. Out of 10 analysts who cover the stock, 10 suggest a Buy rating . The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $130.88, which implies an upside of 20.7% from current levels.