Gilead shares surge on promising HIV trial

Shares of Gilead Sciences surged this morning on the news that its experimental HIV regimen hit its 24-week primary objective in a clinical trial. The study, which enrolled 71 patients, demonstrated that Gilead's combo treatment of four compounds was not inferior to Atripla. And that indicates Gilead is on track to compensate for an HIV patent cliff that lies in wait in 2018.

"In our view, the quad program is the key pipeline program for Gilead (GILD), since we view the quad's pricing strength and hugely improved margins as having the potential to transform the Gilead profit and loss," J.P. Morgan analyst Geoffrey Meacham says in a note. Gilead's shares jumped four percent on the news and analysts' reactions.

"We believe the quad needs to demonstrate at least comparable efficacy to Atripla and superior tolerability to gain meaningful market share," Leerink Swann analyst Joshua Schimmer says.

- check out Gilead's release
- here's the report from Reuters