Gilead Sciences, Inc. Nervous As Johnson & Johnson Looks To Remain Competitive In Hepatitis C Market

Published: Oct 16, 2014

Gilead Sciences Shares Pressured As Johnson & Johnson Hints At Hep C Price War

October 15, 2014

By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Gilead Sciences is facing stiff competition from Johnson & Johnson in the hepatitis C market, and it’s beginning to show in its overall bottom line, as its shares of the company continued to see renewed pressure in capital markets this week.

Shares of Gilead fell as much as 3.3 percent late Tuesday to $98.10 as a result.

Gilead, a U.S. based biopharmaceutical company, is responsible for a hepatitis C combination therapy drug called Harvoni. The drug’s average treatment pricing is forecasted to be around $94,000 per patient, according to analysts. Rival company Johnson & Johnson stated yesterday that it will “remain competitive” following the estimate, because its competing hepatitis C drug Olysio could be cheaper.

Olysio is a prescription medicine that is used with other antiviral medicines, peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, to treat genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C. The combination of Sovaldi, another hepatitis C drug, and Olysio, is more expensive than Harvoni. However, investors believe that there could be a price cut coming from Johnson & Johnson if it looks to remain competitive.

Johnson and Johnson’s Continued Success
Johnson & Johnson released its Q3 earning results on Oct. 14, the same day that Gilead began to see shares drop. The company announced that it had reached $18.5 billion in sales in the third quarter of 2014, which is a 5.1 percent increase compared to the third quarter of 2013.

“Our strong third-quarter performance reflects the continued success of our new products and the strength of our core business. We are making deliberate portfolio choices, positioning us well for achieving our near-term priorities and our long-term growth drivers,” said Alex Gorsky, chairman and chief executive officer at Johnson & Johnson. “I am proud of our colleagues around the world who are focused everyday on delivering solutions to address the evolving health care needs.”

The company specified that new products accounted for its large sales, as well as the strength of core products. Olysio and Sovriad, a combination treatment for hepatitis C in adult patients, was responsible for some of the growth. Additionally, Invokana for the treatment of type 2 diabetes played a role in the company’s increase in sales.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, Johnson & Johnson expects its acquisition of Alios BioPharma, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, to officially close for approximately $1.7 billion cash.

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