Part of the phase 4 NIH combo comparison study of Gilead's Truvada versus Glaxo's Epzicom was stopped early because patients taking the Glaxo drug were faring worse than patients on other therapies. NIH researchers stated, "Treatment combinations that included [Glaxo's Epzicom] were not as effective in controlling the virus as those on regimens containing [Gilead's Truvada]."
Shares of Gilead were up 4% Friday on news of the study results. It sure feels good to be proven right about a drugmaker like Gilead. The additional backing from the NIH for its HIV therapies undoubtedly provides even more of a shield against some of the new, second-line therapies and other front-line drugs making inroads against Gilead's top front-line HIV combination drugs.
As I've said before, the fact that Gilead's HIV combo drugs are entrenched as the standard of care provides a moat of sorts against other HIV treatments -- for example, from Merck
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