RBC Capital Cuts Price Target on Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) While Flagging Downside Risk

Ahead of a conference call this afternoon with HIV doctors, RBC Capital analyst Michael Yee offers insight on Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and its HIV business, remaining overall positive on the biotech firm. However, the analyst alerts investors to be wary of potential downside risk in the long-term from two rival GSK Phase III studies.

From Yee’s perspective, “GILD HIV sales have remained an attractive and profitable business for over a decade and the swap of current Viread pts to new, improved longer-patent life ‘TAF’ versions has been going well.” As such, the analyst reiterates an Outperform on shares of GILD, but lowers the price target from 105 to $95 in face of “a key competitor regimen,” believing the Street is not factoring in the pricing risk that could arise.

GILD competitors GSK/Viiv have a “very potent” pipeline drug up their sleeves called dolutegravir, designed to treat HIV. This drug is now “switching” studies from “GILD regimens,” SWORD Phase 1/2 trials with data read-outs expected by early 2017 to instead go “head-to-head” competing with GILD with GEMINI Phase 1/2 trials, set to release data by 2018. Yee believes investors are not cognizant that these “non-inferiority trials” exist, let alone correctly assess the prospects GILD’s rival trials have to succeed.

“Based on our convos with docs, we think two upcoming GSK/ ViiV dolutegravir HIV ‘doublet’ studies (early 2017-18) are likely to work and present share and pricing risk post-2018; consensus should be aware of this issue and assume more conservative assumptions to HIV DCF biz post 2018 now,” Yee concludes.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, one-star analyst Michael Yee is ranked #3,329 out of 4,197 analysts. Yee has a 50% success rate and faces a loss of 1.2% in his annual returns. However, when recommending GILD, Yee earns 8.1% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit GILD as a Buy. Based on 16 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 50% rate a Buy on GILD, while 50% maintain a Hold. The 12-month price target stands at $101.26, marking a nearly 30% upside from where the shares last closed.screen-shot-10-04-16-at-04-54-pm

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