Better Buy: Gilead Sciences vs. Pfizer

Two healthcare giants have been at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19. Gilead Sciences  was among the first companies to win FDA emergency use authorization for an antiviral therapy targeting SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Pfizer hopes to soon win the first EUA for a coronavirus vaccine.

You might think that Gilead and Pfizer would have delivered tremendous stock returns this year with their respective COVID programs racking up successes. That hasn’t been the case, though, with both stocks in negative territory year to date.

Which of these two drug stocks is the better pick going forward? Here’s how Gilead and Pfizer stack up against each other in several key areas.

Current products

Gilead is best known for its antiviral drugs. Its HIV franchise really put the biotech on the map. Gilead’s HIV drugs continue to generate huge revenue, especially its best-selling HIV therapy Biktarvy. However, sales are declining for the company’s older Truvada-based drugs as Truvada faces generic competition.

COVID-19 therapy Veklury (remdesivir) has emerged as a big winner for Gilead. In its first full quarter on the market, the drug raked in sales of $873 million. It remains to be seen how durable these strong sales will be, though, with the World Health Organization recently recommending against the use of Veklury in treating COVID-19. The company now has another new product with significant potential, though, with the pickup of breast cancer drug Trodelvy with the recent acquisition of Immunomedics.