Stocks Dump, Gilead Crashes After FT Reports Gilead's Remdesivir "Flops" In First Clinical Trial

Update (1350ET): How did the FT and Statnews get their hands on the remdesivir study? They were simply perusing the WHO website at the right time and just happened to stumble upon.

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Update (1340ET): And now the analysts are piling on in an epic display of book-talking:

  • SUNTRUST SAYS `DIFFICULT TO READ TOO MUCH INTO' GILD REPORT
  • GILEAD REMDESIVIR RESULTS `SHOULD BE VERY SOBERING', BAIRD SAYS

Baird's Brian Skorney added that the trial hints at a "near 'worst case scenario' as not only did the clinical effect not manifest, but there wasn't eve an antiviral effect to explore."

However, SunTrust analyst Robyn Karnauskas said that the drug might still work in patients with moderate disease, and believes it would be "difficult to read too much into the severe study until we see data from the controlled study in moderate." In other words, while it might not be effective at saving patients who are already at death's door, it might be useful to stop them from getting there.

And here's the WHO again...

  • WHO SAYS GILEAD REPORT IS UNDERGOING PEER REVIEW, NOT FINAL

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Update (1330ET): In a statement on the leak, Gilead criticized the WHO's characterization of the study's results, and insisted instead that the study's results were "inconclusive".

  • GILEAD: WHO POST HAD ‘INAPPOPRIATE CHARACTERIZATIONS’ OF STUDY
  • GILEAD SEES RESULTS AS `INCONCLUSIVE', STILL STUDYING DRUG
  • GILEAD SAYS STUDY WAS `UNDERPOWERED' GIVEN EARLY TERMINATION
  • GILEAD COMMENTS IN EMAILED STATEMENT TO BLOOMBERG NEWS

Meanwhile, the study's author disputed the characterization that the drug "flopped", saying that a "mistake" in the original manuscript published by the WHO has now been "corrected."

GILEAD STUDY AUTHOR DISPUTES CHARACTERIZATION DRUG 'FLOPPED'

MISTAKE IN ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT HAS BEEN REVISED, AUTHOR SAYS

In other words, Remdesivir didn't "flop" -- it's just "pre-flight".

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Just as we suspected, last week's Statnews report authored by the increasingly sketchy Adam Feuerstein, which without any facts claimed that Gilead's remdesivir had achieved miraculous results on patients in a small preliminary University of Chicago study, has been exposed as complete BS.

In response to the fake STATNews report which managed to boost the entire stock market one week ago, and send it over the 2800 hump that had resisted stocks for so long - despite our loud warning that the article came from a person who tends to do the bidding of well-paying hedge fund clients - the FT just reported that Gilead's "miracle drug" remdesivir has flopped in during its first clinical trial.

Stocks are sliding on news that the "miracle drug" is anything but...

....and Gilead shares - which soared nearly 20% on the original Statnews report - are taking it especially hard.

As @RANsquawk pointed out, the fact that the market puked so hard on this report after a few days of relatively boring action is extremely telling...

Everything else is, indeed, secondary.

STATNews, which prompted the initial euphoria one week ago with its fake news report authored by Adam Feuerstein, whose at this point really should be investigated by the SEC, was "helpful" in following up with the following:

And here is Adam himself, kindly following up on his own fake news report:

According to the documents seen by the FT, the regularly small Chinese clinical trial - which was recently shut down by Chinese health authorities, as we reported, compared the results of 158 patients with a smaller control group and found that the drug did little to improve patients' conditions. Some patients even exhibited "significant" side effects, forcing them to be taken off.

The Chinese trial showed remdesivir — developed by California-based Gilead Sciences — did not improve patients’ condition or reduce the pathogen’s presence in the bloodstream. Researchers studied 237 patients, giving the drug to 158 and comparing their progress with the remaining 79. The drug also showed significant side effects in some, which meant 18 patients were taken off it. The WHO said the draft document, which is undergoing peer review, was published early in error. “In response to WHO asking for information and studies to be shared early, a draft document was provided by the authors to WHO and inadvertently posted on the website and taken down as soon as the mistake was noticed,” it said.  Gilead warned that the post included “inappropriate characterisations of the study”.

“Importantly, because this study was terminated early due to low enrolment, it was underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions,” it said. “As such, the study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease.”

Though some of the details in the study were slightly more positive, including some "inconclusive" trends that suggest a "potential benefit" for patients treated early in the disease. In a statement, Gilead said it was disappointed over the leak since its investigators didn't give permission, and confirmed that the study was indeed shut down for a lack of patients (something we questioned when we first heard the news).

  • GILEAD SAYS BECAUSE ANTIVIRAL DRUG REMDESIVIR STUDY WAS TERMINATED EARLY DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT, IT WAS UNDERPOWERED TO ENABLE STATISTICALLY MEANINGFUL CONCLUSIONS

Already, Jim Cramer,  a notorious biotech bull, immediately tweeted that he doesn't believe the study because it's from a "chinese trial" (question: Is that racist?).

Of course, none of this should be a surprise to all the traders who actually read Gilead's rebuttal of the Statnews report. Because when a drug company pours cold water on a report that one of the company's own drugs might be a "miracle cure" for the worst pandemic in a century, you should know it's serious.

Some even speculated that the original Statnews report could have been a setup by a handful of hedge fund managers hoping to profit off their Gilead positions.

The FT managed to get the "scoop" when the WHO accidentally published draft documents pertaining to the study.

Now will the mainstream media reporters who slammed Trump following reports that a VA study of hydroxychloroquine suggested it was ineffective?