TAF (Tenofovir alafenamide)-based HIV therapy Biktarvy and cell therapy Yescarta emerged as the key growth drivers for Gilead Sciences (GILD) in the first quarter. Besides these drugs, the company also expects HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis therapies) Truvada and Descovy to be its key growth drivers in the future.
Biktarvy growth trends
In the first quarter, Biktarvy reported worldwide sales of $739 million, a dramatic increase compared to $35 million in sales reported in the first quarter of 2018.
According to the first-quarter earnings conference call, Biktarvy is currently the number one prescribed HIV regimen, both for treatment-naïve as well as those patients switching from other regimens in the US. Around 80% of Biktarvy’s prescriptions were attributable to switching patients, with 25% switching from Genvoya, and 25% from dolutegravir-based HIV regimens. An improved bone and renal safety profile coupled with robust efficacy have been a key factor for the increased uptake of TAF-based HIV regimens. These regimens account for almost 80% of Gilead Sciences’ HIV prescription volume in the US.
According to the first-quarter earnings conference call, Biktarvy has already been launched in the ex-US markets of Germany, France, Spain, and Japan. The drug is expected to be launched in Italy and the United Kingdom in mid-2019. The drug has already attained the number one position among prescribed HIV regimens for treatment-naïve and switched patients in Germany and France.
Yescarta growth trends
In the first quarter, Yescarta reported worldwide sales of $93 million, which is a quarter-over-quarter rise of more than 90%. According to the first-quarter earnings conference call, the drug has already treated over 1,500 patients in clinical trials and the commercial setting. Although not a significant percentage of Gilead Sciences’ total revenues in the first quarter, cell therapy is a promising area for future growth. The company is focusing on educating physicians about CAR-T therapy and on working with oncologists to identify Yescarta-eligible patients, and with centers for becoming equipped to administer this therapy.