Gilead wins OK to promote drug for hepatitis B

LOS ANGELES Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:47am IST

Related Topics

Stocks

   

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences said on Monday it won U.S. approval to promote its AIDS drug Viread for treating adults with chronic hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening infection that can destroy the liver. Gilead estimates that more than 400 million people worldwide have the disease, which is most prevalent in Asian countries. It is the leading cause of liver cancer and complications kill up to 1.2 million people per year.

Viread, known generically as tenofovir, is a once-daily tablet that works by blocking an enzyme necessary for the virus to replicate in liver cells.

The drug has been available in the United States as a treatment for HIV infection in adults since 2001.

Gilead already markets another hepatitis B drug, Hepsera, which saw second-quarter sales of $90 million.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Jason Kantor estimated that Hepsera currently has 44 percent of the market, which remains significantly underserved.

"Compared to the available drugs, Viread is likely to be considered best-in-class based on its potency, resistance profile, long-term safety, and price," he said in a recent research note.

Truvada, which had second-quarter sales of $516 million, is a pill that combines Viread with Emtriva, another of Gilead's HIV drugs.

Shares of Gilead, which lost 34 cents to close at $56.43 on Nasdaq, were slightly higher at $57.23 in after hours trading. Year-to-date, the stock is up about 24 percent, compared with a gain of about 11 percent for the Biotech Index.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles and Lisa Richwine in Washington; editing by Carol Bishopric)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

Eat That Carrot

Eat That Carrot

Start early for a lifetime of good vision and healthy eyes.  Full Article 

Triggering Violence

Triggering Violence

What makes hospital patients turn violent?  Full Article 

Corruption Issue

Corruption Issue

After China, GlaxoSmithKline faces pressure for change.  Full Article 

Good Or Bad?

Good Or Bad?

Study of smoking cancer patients fuels e-cigarette debate.  Full Article 

Much-Needed

Much-Needed

Allowing blood donations from gay men could help save over a million lives: U.S. study.  Full Article 

Not Aware

Not Aware

Kidney patients know little about transplant benefits.  Full Article 

Get Up

Get Up

Sedentary lifestyle linked to depression.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage