One of the biggest growth areas for Gilead over the past year came from its massive acquisition of Pharmasset just over a year ago. With its GS-7977/sofosbuvir drug for treating hepatitis C, Gilead has taken the lead in the hep-C market, as other players have suffered some dramatic flameouts. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) made its own big hep-C acquisition, but the experimental drug turned out to cause one patient death and complications with others, forcing the company to drop development. Meanwhile, Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) had two of its hep-C prospects put on clinical holds back in November due to safety concerns, and Idenix said earlier this week that it would not continue clinical development programs for the IDX184 and IDX19368 drug candidates.
By contrast, sofosbuvir has demonstrated strong results, and the fact that it’s an all-oral treatment bodes well for its competitive prospects against interferon-reliant treatments from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) , which require intravenous administration and can cause flu-like symptoms for nearly a year during treatment. With two phase-3 trials succeeding in hitting primary endpoints, sofosbuvir is setting up to be a big part of Gilead’s future.
In its most recent quarter, Gilead again demonstrated the power of its HIV/AIDS treatments while showing a pathway to future growth in other areas. Strong growth from the oncology and cardiovascular areas are dovetailing well with the company’s overall strategy and show few signs of letting up.
For Gilead to improve, it needs to work on getting its debt levels down a bit while translating its growth prospects into higher earnings. That won’t get it to perfection, but it’ll be a big step in Gilead’s steady climb to prominence in the industry.
The article Has Gilead Sciences Become the Perfect Stock? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Dan Caplinger.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Gilead Sciences and Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
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