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Glaxo SmithKline study triggers robust share price increase and hope for HIV sufferers

Shares in Glaxo SmithKline rose 2% after phase III trials were announced and after an upgrade by Swiss bank UBS
Person looking through microscope
Researchers are developing a long-acting treatment for the life-threatening condition

Shares in Glaxo SmithKline PLC (LON:GSK) were up nearly 2% on Monday, representing an increase in market value of more than £1bn, after the company announced that its majority-owned ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company, had started a phase III study.

The stock, up 26.5p to £13.24. was also buoyed by an upgrade by investment team at Swiss bank UBS

The ATLAS-2M study is designed to demonstrate the 'non-inferior' antiviral activity of long-acting, injectable cabotegravir and long-acting injectable rilpivirine in combination. Initial results from this study are anticipated in 2019.

Better quality of life for HIV sufferers

Commenting on these developments, John Pottage, MD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, ViiV Healthcare said: "We have a patient-centered approach to innovation that seeks to transform how HIV is treated, and our focus on 2-drug regimens is key to this strategy.”

Industry analysts have noted that HIV treatment regimens that do not require daily dosing could be an important part of making HIV feel like a smaller part of patients' lives.

In conjunction with the ATLAS-2M study, Glaxo SmithKline and its partners are evaluating the possibility of maintaining viral suppression with six treatments per year of long-acting cabotegravir and long-acting rilpivirine. 

Earlier, Monday UBS upgraded Glaxo SmithKline to 'buy', believing concerns of continued earnings decline and dividend sustainability are now overdone. While acknowledging near-term challenges, the broker is of the view that the dividend looks secure and in its view investors should be rewarded with two years of 80p.


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