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COVID-19 drug sales help boost Gilead 2nd-quarter results, HIV sales dip

Credit: REUTERS/Mike Blake

Gilead Sciences Inc on Thursday posted higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, helped by strong demand for its COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Veklury, but sales of its flagship HIV drugs lagged as the pandemic continued to limit visits to doctors.

By Deena Beasley

July 29 (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc GILD.O on Thursday posted higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings, helped by strong demand for its COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Veklury, but sales of its flagship HIV drugs lagged as the pandemic continued to limit visits to doctors.

Gilead shares, which closed at $69.83, were down 2% in after hours trading.

The biotechnology company's total revenue for the quarter rose 21% from a year earlier to $6.2 billion, slightly higher than the average analyst estimate of $6.07 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Sales of HIV medicines, which have stalled during the coronavirus pandemic, fell 2% to $3.9 billion.

Gilead Chief Commercial Officer Johanna Mercier on a conference call with analysts said HIV sales in Europe have begun to recover, but U.S. demand has been slower. "It is clear that it will take several quarters for treatment to return to pre-pandemic levels," she said.

Gilead reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.87 per share, beating Wall Street expectations by 12 cents.

Sales of Veklury, known chemically as remdesivir, totaled $829 million for the quarter, easily topping Wall Street estimates of $675 million.

Gilead said Veklury sales would continue to be subject to uncertainty since they are tightly linked to COVID-19 hospitalization rates. The company also said it was no longer pursuing development of an inhaled version of the drug for COVID-19.

Sales of its hepatitis C drugs bounced back in the quarter, rising 23% to $549 million.

For full-year 2021, Gilead narrowed its forecast for adjusted earnings per share to $6.90 to $7.25 from its prior projection of $6.75 to $7.45.

The company said it now expects product sales for the year of $24.4 billion to $25 billion, compared with a previous estimate of $23.7 billion to $25.1 billion.

(Reporting By Deena Beasley Editing by Bill Berkrot)

((deena.beasley@thomsonreuters.com; 213 955 6746; Reuters Messaging: deena.beasley.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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