Docs back Viread for hepatitis B

Analysts are chatting up Gilead Science's HIV drug Viread as a treatment for hepatitis B. Currently under FDA review for that indication, Viread already has the backing of four out of five doctors, said Thomas Wei, a Piper Jaffray analyst."Feedback from this survey leads us to believe that Viread could enter the market with the best combination of efficacy, safety and resistance data, and coupled with a lower cost, could win the majority market share of the class," Wei wrote in a note to clients.

This is good news for Gilead, which has been fighting off Viread competitors lately. In November, the FDA gave tentative approval for the first generic version of Viread under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and in January, the Public Patent Foundation challenged four patents on the drug. The U.S. Patent Office has since upheld one of those patents, but there's been no ruling yet on the others.

- see the story in Forbes