Needham Shines Light on Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) and Regulus Therapeutics Inc (RGLS) Following AASLD Review with KOL Eric Lawitz

Needham’s healthcare analyst Alan Carr weighted in today on the pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and San Diego biopharmaceutical company Regulus Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:RGLS), after hosting a call yesterday with KOL Eric Lawitz to review HCV space and new data from recently concluded American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) meeting.

Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Gilead presented results from Phase 2 and 3 trials of nextgeneration HCV regimens at the AASLD meeting. The company dominates the HCV market with Sovaldi and Harvoni and Carr expects this to continue through 2016 as the next wave of entrants reach the market.

Carr noted, “Dr. Lawitz highlighted strength of Gilead’s ASTRAL program data (sofosbuvir/ velpatasvir) and sees new regimen as next core therapy for HCV. He believes next-generation 3-drug regimens from Merck and Gilead may reduce treatment-duration to 8-wks for most, but not all patients.”

The analyst continued, “Dr. Lawitz reviewed current treatment modalities and shared his approach to selecting therapy for pts. While payers largely influence which direct antiviral is prescribed in most regions, providers in San Antonio have not faced as much of a challenge. This has allowed Dr. Lawitz additional flexibility w/ individualization of treatment. Harvoni is the work-horse for his practice (~65-70% of pts). He reserves Viekira for GT1b pts, pts unable to interrupt acid suppressive therapy (PPI), and pts w/ renal failure.”

Carr rates Gilead Sciences shares a Buy, with a price target of $125, which implies an upside of 16% from current levels.

According to, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, analyst Alan Carr has a total average return of 26.4% and a 59.5% success rate. Carr has a 42.9% average return when recommending GILD, and is ranked #12 out of 3857 analysts.

Out of the 23 analysts polled by TipRanks, 18 rate Gilead Sciences stock a Buy, 4 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends Sell. With a return potential of 19%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $127.83.

Regulus Therapeutics Inc

Regulus presented long-term follow-up data from Phase 1 single-injection RG-101 trial at AASLD meeting.

The analyst noted, “Dr. Lawitz was impressed with absence of non-responders to RG- 101 at initiation of treatment (in contrast to miravirsen) and by 6mo durability of response in the 6 pts. He believes an RG-101 regimen may be most appropriate for pts at risk for poor compliance or challenging treatment-failure pts. He suggested several different direct antiviral combination strategies for RG-101 to boost response rate. Regulus is conducting a Phase 2 trial evaluating RG-101 in combination w/ direct antivirals (2 injections bracketing 1 mo of directly antiviral treatment; ‘sandwich’) and has guided for SVR4 data in early 1Q16. The company also recently announced a collaboration w/ GSK to investigate feasibility of a single-visit regimen using a long-acting formulation of NS5A inhibitor GSK2878175 w/ RG-101.”

As of this writing, all the 6 analysts polled by TipRanks rate Regulus Therapeutics stock a Buy. With a return potential of 206%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $29.33.


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