After Gilead Sciences’ (GILD) antiviral drug remdesivir was identified as a potential treatment for COVID-19 earlier in the year, investors sent the stock up by 30%. But sentiment has somewhat soured recently, with shares on a downtrend since the late April yearly peak.
However, Oppenheimer analyst Hartaj Singh has no such concerns over Gilead’s long-term prospects, and tells investors, “We view any GILD weakness as a potential buying opportunity.”
Singh identifies 3 possible reasons for the recent weakness. The first concerns a broader trend, as COVID-19’s impact has diminished, investors have shifted focus from the biotech sector to other industries. Secondly, Gilead has a “a tricky 2Q20 earnings report coming up,” one in which the full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic will be revealed.
Lastly, the commercial opportunity for remdesivir has been questioned recently, as Wall Street has wondered about Gilead’s business model for the drug. Additionally, the drug’s development has also been a drain on resources which could be a factor heading into the quarterly statement. “Remdesivir investments might not be adequately reflected in 2Q/20 consensus leading to volatility into 2Q20 earnings,” said Singh.
But what the skeptics appear to be missing by fixating solely on remdesivir, Singh says, is the pharma giant’s increasingly strong and diverse pipeline.
The 5-star analyst said, “While sales/ earnings growth has started (per our upgrade thesis 01/19), we still see the Street ascribing little value to an emerging/quality pipeline. Launches for filgotinib in rheumatoid arthritis (2H20), ulcerative colitis (2021), magrolimab (’22) should buttress earlier stage data for HIV capsid (1H21), oral PD-1 (2020), nebulized remdesivir (2H20), etc,”
Accordingly, Singh has an Outperform rating on GILD to go a with a $90 price target, which implies about 22% upside from current levels (To watch Singh’s track record, click here)
The rest of Street has mixed views when considering Gilead’s prospects. Gilead’s Hold consensus rating is based on 10 Buys, 14 Holds and 4 Sells. However, the bulls have the edge, as the average price target is $79.95 and implies possible upside of 9%. (See GILD stock analysis on TipRanks)