Idenix Suspension Makes Room for Gilead Sciences

After yesterday’s news from Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX) and the ensuing 30% sell-off, Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) saw a small decline in share price. Gilead’s lead Hepatitis C product GS-7977 is a nucleotide inhibitor –  the same as Idenix’s IDX-184, which the FDA placed on clinical hold –  and investors saw risk in the association. But the focus may be on the wrong compound. More important is the longer, overlooked list of HCV treatments in development at Gilead. In Phase 2 trials are three NS3 protease inhibitors which have different mechanisms from nucleotide-based compounds. And even further out in development, GILD is testing more novel approaches to Hep C treatment with a TLR-7 agonist and a reverse trascriptase inhibitor; the company clearly has a shotgun approach to HCV treatment and it may be the key to successful commercialization.

The company was encouraged last month first by the suspension of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (NYSE:BMY) HCV treatment and second by positive second quarter results. Shares are up 13% in the last three months. GILD initially rose yesterday morning as investors saw market opportunity with Idenix at least temporarily off the table, but took a decline later in the day as bears won out. Gilead is worth a second look with its varied pipeline strategy.