Category Archives: stock market


Does Gilead’s CAR T Approval Vindicate the High Acquisition Price for Kite Pharma?

Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) has seen many analysts raise their price targets in recent weeks, and now there is a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval that has created at least some buzz for Gilead. The FDA has approved Gilead’s CAR T lymphoma treatment named Yescarta.

There remains a debate over whether Gilead overpaid for Kite Pharma in its $11 billion or so acquisition. This was Kite’s flagship cell-therapy treatment and will come with a more rapid payoff for Gilead’s first large acquisition.

While a $373,000 start price target sounds off the charts, Yescarta is actually cheaper than a rival CAR T treatment from Novartis at $475,000.

Gilead’s new approval is also for a broader patient population than the Novartis drug Kymriah. Yescarta is also said to have a boxed warning on its product label regarding the risks of cytokine release syndrome and neurologic toxicities.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, roughly three out of every five cases. In the United States alone, there are approximately 7,500 patients each year with refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who are said to be eligible for CAR T therapy.

If you were to assign an all-in acceptance for Yescarta with 100% of the patients, that would generate close to $2.8 billion at the listed price from the full 100% patients per year.

Gilead shares were up 1.1% at $80.90 Thursday morning, in a 52-week trading range of $63.76 to $86.28 and with a consensus analyst target price of $84.20. Gilead’s prior high was closer to $120, back in the summer of 2015.

Gilead’s press release describes Yescarta as follows:

The first chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) therapy for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), high-grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma (transformed follicular lymphoma, or TFL). Yescarta is not indicated for the treatment of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma.

The big question that remains is to how many more cancers Gilead’s CAR T treatments can be applied. This newer drug class is not immune to problems, but it also brings great promise for those patients who struggle to beat cancer.

Kite Pharma’s site for the chimeric antigen receptor shows multiple targets in various investigational and clinical stages. That class and its T-cell receptor class show multiple candidates in preclinical and Phase 1 stages. These are the other various areas of research being targeted:

  • PMBCL, primary mediastinal b-cell lymphoma
  • TFL, transformed follicular lymphoma
  • NHL, non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • MM, multiple myeloma
  • MCL, mantle cell lymphoma
  • AML, acute myeloid leukemia
  • ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia


Cities Where the Most (and Least) People Graduate High School

The United States’ high school graduation rate rose to 83% for the 2014-2015 school year. But not all areas of the country are getting their students to earn diplomas at the same rate.

Graduating from high school is extremely important. It paves the way to better job opportunities and higher wages, and of course also to higher education. Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro areas with the highest and lowest high school graduation rates.

There is a large disparity between the top graduation rates and the worst. In Sebring, Florida, the metro area with the lowest graduation rate in the 2014-2015 school year, just 64% of high school students received their diplomas on time. That is a far cry from the 95.2% high school graduation rate in the Wichita Falls, Texas metro area.

Having a diploma is much more than just a fancy sheet of paper. It can be a strong indicator of how much money someone will make in their career. For high school graduates nationwide, the typical income increases by more than $20,000 compared to those who did not finish high school.

Aside from likely curbing earning potential, not graduating from high school also limits future educational opportunities, like attending college. Areas with lower shares of adults with high school diplomas generally have lower percentages of residents with a bachelor’s degree.

Graduation rates do not just affect how much someone is paid, but they can also indicate how likely someone is to be employed. In all 25 areas with the lowest graduation rates, the unemployment rate is higher than the national jobless rate.

To determine the graduation rates of U.S. metro areas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. High school graduation rates are defined as the percentage of the ninth-grade cohort that graduates in four years. The data represents students graduating on time in the 2014-2015 school year and is the most recent provided. The estimate of the median income for adults with less than a high school diploma and the percentage of people with at least a bachelor’s degree come from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The August 2017 unemployment rate came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the case where cohort size was not available through County Health Rankings, the size of the 2014-2015 class cohort was estimated based on the number of 17 and 18 year olds, as provided by the Census Bureau.

Click here to see where the least people graduate high school.
Click here to see where the most people graduate high school.