/Why Gilead’s COVID Drug May Be The Magic Bullet We Need

Why Gilead’s COVID Drug May Be The Magic Bullet We Need

Summary

GILD surged to $84 Friday on the leak that University of Chicago Medicine’s head researcher in GILD COVID studies reported that GILD’s RDV (remdesivir) worked well.

The data that Dr. Mullane reported to her colleagues suggests that RDV could be a “magic bullet,” honing in on the coronavirus and destroying it quickly.

This report is consistent with a relatively small but internally consistent group of positive reports about RDV.

I liked GILD under the new CEO, Dan O’Day, before COVID, and think that RDV could be a valuable catalyst in GILD’s longer term resurgence toward sustained growth.

If RDV meets the high hopes some now have for it, I also believe it could be a material factor in allowing the economy and markets to heal, and for lockdowns to vanish.

The breaking news

Veteran biotech writer Adam Feuerstein, with Matthew Herper, reported for STAT after-hours Thursday on Gilead’s (GILD) high-profile investigational antiviral, setting off bullish trading in GILD and in all major US stock market indices. The article’s lede sets the basic story:

Early peek at data on Gilead coronavirus drug suggests patients are responding to treatment

A Chicago hospital treating severe Covid-19 patients with Gilead Sciences’ antiviral medicine remdesivir in a closely watched clinical trial is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week, STAT has learned…

The University of Chicago Medicine [“UCM”]recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease. All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.

Remdesivir, or RDV in GILD’s lingo and which I will adopt, is a broad-spectrum drug that is designed to block replication of RNA viruses such as those which cause Ebola and COVID-19 (which I shall call COVID for simplicity).

RDV did not prove very effective in a trial comparing various drugs in an Ebola trial, but both preclinical and now clinical evidence has put it very much on the map.

The twin theses of this article are that RDV can provide the catalyst to take an undervalued GILD to much higher prices, and that it could also be just what could catalyze a greatly depressed economy and depressed, quasi-imprisoned populace to rebound back to their prior status.