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Gilead Sciences Upgraded on Potential Virus Drug Sales

SVB Leerink upgraded Gilead Sciences to outperform, citing the sales potential of the coronavirus drug remdesivir.
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An SVB Leerink analyst upgraded Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences, Inc. Report to outperform from market perform, saying sales of the pharmaceutical giant's coronavirus treatment remdesivir could reach $7.7 billion in 2022. 

Shares of the Foster City, Calif., company at last check were up 1% to $73.96.

Analyst Geoffrey Porges, who also raised his price target on Gilead Sciences to $94 from $85, said in a note to clients that he expected commercial sales of the drug to be priced at roughly $5,000 per course of treatment in the U.S. and $4,000 in Europe.

Gilead currently has emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for remdesivir. The company said that it would donate 1.5 million vials of the drug worldwide.

Gilead has probably already doled out that supply and will have to announce a price soon, Porges said.

Public advocates have argued against vaccine makers profiting from the coronavirus outbreak. Porges has said that investors were giving "a generous amount of credit" for a drug that likely would not be sold for a profit.

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The analyst also noted Gilead's recently announced partnership with biopharma Arcus Biosciences  (RCUS) - Get Arcus Biosciences, Inc. Report, which he said should give the company "critical mass in oncology."

On Tuesday, Citi analyst Yigal Nochomovitz raised his price target on Arcus Biosciences to $41 from $15, while affirming a buy rating on the shares. 

Nochomovitz said the collaboration with Gilead adds "meaningful validation" to Arcus's immune oncology pipeline.

On Monday, Gilead Sciences reported positive results in the latest trial of remdesivir. 

The Phase III study included hospitalized patients with moderate covid-19 pneumonia and included five-day and 10-day treatments. 

“Patients in the five-day treatment group were 65% more likely to have clinical improvement at day 11 compared with those in the standard of care group,” Gilead said in a statement.