Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Investor’s Business Daily Profiles Viread Manufacturer Gilead Sciences
Investor's Business Daily yesterday profiled Gilead Sciences, the Forest City, Calif.-based biotechnology firm that produces the antiretroviral drug Viread (Alva, Investor's Business Daily, 10/24). Viread, which was approved by the FDA in October 2001, is designed to attack drug-resistant strains of HIV. Viread has been shown to boost immune response and lower viral levels in the bloodstream, and AIDS advocates and doctors are pleased with the drug's performance in patients who are resistant to other antiretrovirals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/27). Viread is currently available in the United States and Europe. With $44.7 million in sales during the second quarter of 2002, Viread represented 48% of Gilead's total second-quarter product sales. Drug industry analysts say that Viread is "one of the most important new HIV drugs to hit the market in recent years." Navdeep Jaikaria, an analyst with Leerink Swann & Co., said that the drug has had "the fastest launch in the history of HIV." Jaikaria added that Viread and Gilead's hepatitis B drug, Hepsera, have the potential to become "best in class" treatments for their respective diseases. IBD reports that both Viread and Hepsera have "huge markets," and Gilead plans to continue running tests on the drugs in order to determine whether they can be used for different indications or could carry new safety profiles. David Bouchey, an analyst with C.E. Unterberg, Towbin, said that additional data on the drugs could boost doctors' confidence in the medicines, which would ultimately lead to higher sales for the company (Investor's Business Daily, 10/24).
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