In terms of emerging macro trends, one notable impact of COVID-19 has been on the stock market within the healthcare sector, historically considered a safe haven for investors during financial crises.
At the height of the financial disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the S&P Health Care Index lost 28% against a comparable loss of 33% in the entire S&P 500 (period late February to late March 2020). However, there were a couple of outliers bucking the trend – particularly Gilead, who saw their stock rise 18% over the same time period. This was anomalous in the pharmaceutical field with many other big players advancing COVID-19 therapeutics (GSK, Sanofi, J&J) experiencing typical losses.
As investors turned their attention to Gilead, their potential anti-viral COVID-19 therapy Remdesivir began to gather scientific, political and investor momentum. The COVID-19 pandemic not only accelerated Remdesivir’s clinical data development and market availability – it magnified Remdesivir’s impact on the stock prices. Financial writers went as far as starting to frame the Gilead stock in terms of a bell-weather for US investor sentiment, with readouts of Remdesivir performance in incomplete non-peer-reviewed trials seemingly causing significant shifts in Gilead stock price.
The infographic below plots significant events in Remdesivir’s recent history to contextualize this dramatic story and the seemingly disproportionate impact one product’s journey appeared to have on the overall company stock price. Beyond this there are additional trends that the Remdesivir story indicates will be part of shaping the future healthcare and pharmaceutical landscape.
Please note: COVID-19’s impact on pharma is continually evolving. All insights expressed here were formulated based on the situation as of June 29, 2020.