Gilead Sciences Slides After WHO Study Doubts Remdesivir Effectiveness

The World Health Organization says Gilead Sciences' coronavirus treatment, remdesivir, had little impact on patients in a trial of more than 11,000 patients.

Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Report shares dipped lower Friday after the World Health Organization said as study of the drugmaker's developing coronavirus treatment, which was used on President Donald Trump, showed little impact on mortality rates or hospitalization times.

The WHO said its 'Solidarity' trial of more than 11,200 patients indicated that the drug had little impact on 28-day mortality rates or the length of time patients with COVID-19 spending in hospital. The results contradict a study of remdesivir published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, which detailed patient recoveries that were five days faster, as well as consistent and meaningful improvements in outcomes compared those given placebos in a double-blind Phase 3 study.

The WHO study follows similarly disappointing news related to coronavirus vaccine developments, with trials paused by both AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Astrazeneca PLC Sponsored ADR Report and Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report after two patients were taken ill. Eli Lilly's  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) Report  antibody treatment study was also suspended this month amid safety concerns.

Gilead shares were marked 0.5% lower in early trading Friday to change hands at $62.53 each, a move that would peg the stock's six-month decline at around 18%.

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SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges had estimated that remdesivir could generate as much as $5.4 billion in sales this year, and a further $8.5 billion in 2021, once its approved by regulators. 

President Trump was treated with a fifth and final dose of remdesivir earlier this month at the Walter Reed Medical Center, one of his physicians told reporters in Bethesda, Maryland. Trump has also received doses of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals  (REGN) - Get Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report experimental REGN-COV2 antibody treatment, as well as the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone.