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Second Covid-19 Study of Remdesivir in China Suspended; Expect Key Data in Coming Weeks

April 15, 2020 Harriet Lefton
Second Covid-19 Study of Remdesivir in China Suspended; Expect Key Data in Coming Weeks

Gilead’s (GILD) remdesivir study in China for mild-moderate Covid-19 patients has just been suspended due to poor enrollment. The news comes as the pandemic continues to wane in China, and follows the recently announced termination of the study for severe Covid-19 patients for similar reasons.

According to reports, the mild-moderate study had planned to enroll 308 patients from Wuhan- but it remains unclear exactly how many enrolled to date. The stock is currently down 3% in today’s trading, but is still up 16% year-to-date.

For RBC Capital analyst Brian Abrahams this latest update is a worrying sign of the drug’s efficacy. He writes:

“We continue to believe that while remdesivir showed a promising signal of activity in the recent open label compassionate use published data, the fact that no data has been revealed from the truncated severe study in China – the only randomized study thus far – despite today’s update also indicating it had enrolled a reasonably robust number of pts (n=237), suggests any benefits observed were likely inconclusive and maintains our view that the likelihood of remdesivir demonstrating substantial activity remains at best 50/50.”

He is now waiting for further information from any publication of the China study in severe patients, and possibly this now-terminated mild-moderate study.

Looking ahead key upcoming readouts for the drug remain the GILD-sponsored studies in severe and moderate COVID-19 patients in late April and May respectively. However he notes that the lack of a control arm for the severe study may limit interpretability.

Abrahams nonetheless maintained his buy rating on GILD with an $85 price target. That makes him more bullish than consensus, according to TipRanks. Based on 26 analyst ratings published on the stock in the last three months, GILD shows a Moderate Buy consensus and $77 average price target. (See Gilead’s stock analysis on TipRanks)

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