The trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “has all the necessary scientific standards that are really going to help us define if this drug works or not,” Dr. Kalil, a professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center told Reuters.
According to Kalil, the trial has already enrolled well over 500 people, with 50% of the patients receiving the drug and 50% receiving a placebo. “We are looking for not only a statistical difference, but also for a meaningful clinical improvement,” he said. “We expect to have results sometime from mid- to late May.” Gilead previously revealed that it only expected the trial to yield results in late May.
On April 23 the World Health Organization mistakenly released a post indicating that the 237-patient study of remdesivir in severe patients in China did not demonstrate a clear benefit for the patient.
“If this is ultimately confirmed, this would be completely in line with our expectations that we have discussed in multiple of our recent reports” stated RBC Capital analyst Brian Abrahams.
He recalls that the study had been discontinued prematurely for poor enrollment despite reports that 237 patients participated. As such, the fact that the investigators from this randomized study in China had still not revealed the data clearly indicated the results were inconclusive, he said.
“Still, we remain cautious (50/50 probability of success at best) about the agent’s prospects and continue to see limited means for GILD to monetize it near term upon success anyway” Abrahams tells investors.
Nonetheless, the analyst has a buy rating on the stock with an $85 price target- adding that he sees any remdesivir-related pullback as a buying opportunity given GILD’s otherwise strong fundamentals.
Overall, GILD scores a Moderate Buy rating from the Street with a $77 average analyst price target (3% downside potential). Shares are currently trading up 23% year-to-date. (See Gilead stock analysis on TipRanks).
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