Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) announced the recipients of its HIV cure grants program, a fund totaling more than $22 million, which will support 12 new HIV cure research projects. These projects will be conducted by leading academic institutions, non-profit organizations and community groups from around the world, focusing on three key areas: translational research, efficacy studies in animal models and community perspectives of HIV cure.
“We know from decades of work addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Through partnerships with dedicated and results-driven organizations – such as the worthy recipients of our grant funding – our goal is to help in the discovery and development of a safe and effective cure,” said William Lee, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences. “We are excited about the potential of these projects and are looking forward to seeing the results and learnings that emerge from them.”
The following institutions and corresponding projects will receive funding to complete their research over the next three years (Institution/Principal Investigator/Project Name):
- Massachusetts General Hospital – Galit Alter, Ph.D. – Development of a Novel Class of Broadly Functional Antibodies (bFAbs) That Can Kill the Viral Reservoir Within Lymphoid Sanctuaries
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center – Lawrence Corey, M.D. – Adoptive Transfer of Genetically Protected and Genetically Modified Defined Populations of CAR T Cells as a Modality to Achieve HIV-1 Cure
- Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research – George N. Pavlakis, M.D., Ph.D. – Efficacy of Heterodimeric IL-15 Treatment Regimens in Reducing SIV Reservoir
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – Robert Siliciano, M.D., Ph.D. – Measuring the Latent Reservoir for HIV
- University of Zurich, Institute of Medical Virology – Alexandra Trkola, Ph.D. – SEEK, UNCOVER and ELIMINATE: Eliciting Antiviral and Infected Cell-Directed Activities Towards a Cure of HIV-1
- Institut Pasteur – Olivier Schwartz, Ph.D. – Novel Methods to Visualize and Eliminate the HIV-1 Reservoir
- Aarhus University Hospital – Ole Schmeltz Sogaard, M.D., Ph.D. – Combining a TLR9 Agonist With Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies for Viral Reservoir Reduction and Immunological Control of HIV Infection: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- University of KwaZulu-Natal – Thumbi Ndung’u, Ph.D. – The FRESH Study: Females Rising Through Education, Support and Health (‘FRESH’) Acute HIV Infection Cohort
- Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine – Michael M. Lederman, M.D. – Reservoir Reduction with Interleukin-2 and Transcriptional Activation
- AIDS Foundation of Chicago – Amy Johnson, Ph.D. – Chicago Unites in Research to End HIV (CURE HIV)
- Project Inform – David Evans – Assuring Successful Community Participation in HIV Cure Research
- My Brother’s Keeper, Inc. – DeMarc Hickson, Ph.D. – HIV Cure Research Perception Among HIV-Infected African American MSM, and Affected Communities in the Deep American South: A Multi-Level Mixed Methods Perspective
The HIV cure grants program, initially announced in February 2016, is one of the components of Gilead’s commitment to cure and ultimately eradicate HIV and AIDS through its research and development and philanthropic leadership.
For nearly 30 years, Gilead has focused on the development of antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV/AIDS, helping transform HIV infection from a fatal and debilitating disease into a chronic, manageable condition. In further efforts to end the HIV epidemic, Gilead is conducting early-stage clinical research to identify novel agents and strategies that could play a role in eradicating HIV infection in the body.
In addition to the funding of these grants, Gilead was recently announced as one of the foremost corporate providers of philanthropic support to address HIV/AIDS by the Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) organization.
Shares of Gilead Sciences closed yesterday at $75.84, up $0.35 or 0.46%. GILD has a 1-year high of $103.10 and a 1-year low of $70.83. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $74.00 and its 200-day moving average is $77.86.
On the ratings front, Gilead Sciences has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on January 3, Jefferies analyst Brian Abrahams reiterated a Buy rating on GILD, with a price target of $91, which implies an upside of 20% from current levels. Separately, on the same day, Cowen’s Phil Nadeau reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $100.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Brian Abrahams and Phil Nadeau have a yearly average return of 3.8% and 3.6% respectively. Abrahams has a success rate of 50% and is ranked #1006 out of 4347 analysts, while Nadeau has a success rate of 50% and is ranked #1060.
Sentiment on the street is mostly bullish on GILD stock. Out of 15 analysts who cover the stock, 12 suggest a Buy rating and 3 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $93.00, which represents a potential upside of 23% from where the stock is currently trading.