Of all the drug makers that are working on COVID-19 treatments, Gilead ($GILD) is considered by many experts to be furthest along. That's because the drugmaker is already in Phase 3 of clinical trials that began in Wuhan with 'remdesivir' as a treatment for pneumonia in people with coronavirus. The trial has been ongoing since February when China's Food and Drug Administration gave it the greenlight.

On March 3, a phase 3 trial began that will evaluate 'remdesivir' in 600 patients with moderate COVID-19 with results as soon as May. All of the excitement about what the company will come up with has tracked with a year-to-date stock gain of 23%.

In other words, people — both investors and worried consumers — have their eyes on Gilead. Google Trends search interest is currently at its highest levels as people begin to search not just for incoming treatments and cures for coronavirus, but also for investment opportunities. 

The company's "Talking About" count — the number of times the brand is mentioned on a daily basis at Facebook — has yet to chart, but that's likely to change as the company gets more attention from the media.

It hasn't been since July 2019 that Gilead saw much activity in Facebook mentions, and that occurred when the company announced its intention to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of a new anti-inflammatory drug called 'filgotinib'.

But what's happening inside at Gilead as it races toward a treatment shows that the company is poised to surge in 2020. 

Going into the new year, things had slowed down a bit at Gilead, but with the new year and the quick movement on coronavirus, Gilead is seeing activity on the hiring front. Openings on January 1 were at 440, and as of this week have hit 592. In the same time period, stock prices have surged 23%.

The nature of those job listings is illustrated in the word cloud above, broken down by quarter (hit the play button to see it change over time). In the past quarter, job listings show a strategic hiring move from a focus on marketing via publications along with a need for compliance specialists, to what looks to be a more developmental phase with a focus on laboratory and technical talent.

All of this is mirrored in the number of LinkedIn profiles that list Gilead as their employer, as a proxy for workforce growth. Since the new year, at least 200 people have added the drug company as their employer on LinkedIn alone.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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