Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) announced that the European Commission has granted marketing authorization for two doses of Descovy® (emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide 200/10 mg and 200/25 mg; F/TAF), a fixed-dose combination for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Descovy is Gilead’s second TAF-based therapy to receive marketing authorization in the European Union.

Descovy is indicated in the European Union for the treatment of adults and adolescents (ages 12 years and older with body weight at least 35 kg) in combination with other HIV antiretroviral agents. The marketing authorization is based on a Phase 3 HIV clinical program evaluating F/TAF in combination with other antiretroviral agents in treatment naïve, virologically suppressed, renally impaired and adolescent patients. The marketing authorization allows for the marketing of Descovy in all 28 countries of the European Union.

“Treatment backbones, paired with a third agent, are a cornerstone for successful management of HIV. Descovy is the first new HIV backbone approved in Europe in more than a decade and represents an important advance in addressing the needs of patients,” said Dr. José Arribas, Associate Professor of Medicine, Autonoma University School of Medicine, Madrid. “The components of Descovy, either as part of a single or multi tablet regimen, offer physicians and their patients a simple and effective combination with improvements in renal and bone lab safety parameters.”

TAF is a novel targeted prodrug of tenofovir that has demonstrated high antiviral efficacy similar to and at a dose less than one-tenth that of Gilead’s Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate; TDF). TAF has also demonstrated improvement in surrogate laboratory markers of renal and bone safety as compared to TDF in clinical trials in combination with other antiretroviral agents. Data show that because TAF enters cells, including HIV-infected cells, more efficiently than TDF, it can be given at a much lower dose and there is 90 percent less tenofovir in the bloodstream.

“TAF represents the latest development in Gilead’s more than 25-year history of innovation in the field of HIV, and we are pleased to offer patients and physicians another TAF-based therapy that expands their treatment options,” said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Gilead Sciences. “We look forward to making Descovy available as quickly as possible throughout the European Union as we continue to advance a pipeline of HIV regimens that contain TAF.”

The marketing authorization for Descovy is supported by 48-week data from a Phase 3 study (Study 1089) evaluating the safety and efficacy of switching virologically suppressed HIV-1 infected adult patients from regimens containing emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (F/TDF; Truvada®) plus a third agent to regimens containing F/TAF plus the same third agent. At Week 48, the F/TAF-based regimens were found to be statistically non-inferior to the F/TDF-based regimens, based on percentages of patients with HIV-1 RNA levels less than 50 copies per mL. The study also demonstrated statistically significant improvements in renal and bone laboratory parameters among patients receiving the F/TAF-based regimens.

The marketing authorization is also supported by 48-week data from two pivotal Phase 3 studies (Studies 104 and 111) evaluating an F/TAF-based regimen (administered as Genvoya®; elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir alafenamide 10 mg; E/C/F/TAF) against an F/TDF-based regimen (administered as Stribild®; elvitegravir 150 mg/cobicistat 150 mg/emtricitabine 200 mg/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate 300 mg; E/C/F/TDF) among treatment naïve adult patients. In these studies, certain renal and bone laboratory parameters favored the F/TAF-based regimen over the F/TDF-based regimen. Additionally, the marketing authorization is supported by data from studies evaluating an F/TAF-based regimen (administered as Genvoya) among adults with mild-to-moderate renal impairment and among treatment naïve adolescents. Lastly, bioequivalence studies demonstrated that the formulation of the fixed-dose combinations of Descovy achieved the same drug levels of TAF and emtricitabine in the blood as in Genvoya. (Original Source)

Shares of Gilead are currently trading at $101.60, down $0.33 or -0.32%. GILD has a 1-year high of $123.37 and a 1-year low of $81.89. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $93.85 and its 200-day moving average is $96.75.

On the ratings front, Gilead has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on April 15, Cowen analyst Phil Nadeau maintained a Buy rating on GILD, with a price target of $130, which implies an upside of 27.5% from current levels. Separately, on April 11, Robert W. Baird’s Brian Skorney maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $135.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Phil Nadeau and Brian Skorney have a total average return of 3.7% and 0.3% respectively. Nadeau has a success rate of 49.0% and is ranked #870 out of 3828 analysts, while Skorney has a success rate of 52.2% and is ranked #2007.

The street is mostly Bullish on GILD stock. Out of 20 analysts who cover the stock, 15 suggest a Buy rating and 5 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $112.36, which represents a potential upside of 10.2% from where the stock is currently trading.