Gilead accelerates app schedule after Quad aces comparison study

Gilead ($GILD) has said its blockbuster HIV hopeful Quad edged out a rival treatment in a non-inferiority study, encouraging the developer to accelerate its schedule for a marketing application and moving up a possible launch to mid-2012.

The biotech reports that 90% of the patients taking Quad--a single daily pill that combines four different HIV therapies--saw their viral loads drop to the study goal. That compares with the 87% of patients who saw a similar viral drop after taking Truvada with atazanavir (from Bristol-Myers Squibb), boosted by ritonavir.

"Quad has moved a big step closer to providing another treatment option to patients in need," said Norbert W. Bischofberger, Gilead's chief scientific officer, according to a report from Dow Jones. Gilead has now accelerated its application schedule from the first quarter of 2012 to sometime near the end of this year.

Gilead has good reason to charge ahead. Quad is needed to replace the big revenue it gets from Atripla. Analysts have offered a range of peak sales estimates, with some breaking the $1.5 billion mark in four years.

- here's the Gilead release
- check out the Dow Jones report