Gilead Sales Soar on Hepatitis Drugs
Biopharma company Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD – $117.95) said its quarterly net profit rose 32%, driven by sales of hepatitis C drugs that beat Wall Street estimates. Gilead reported results of operations for the second quarter with revenues of $8.2 billion in compared to $6.5 billion in the second quarter of last year and significantly higher than Street expectations of $7.6 billion. Adjusted net income, which excludes amounts related to acquisition, restructuring and other, was $4.8 billion or $3.15 per share compared to $2.36 in 2014 and $0.44 ahead of analysts’ views. Product sales in the U.S. were $5.6 billion compared to $4.8 billion for the second quarter of 2014. In Europe, sales were $2.0 billion compared to $1.3 billion for the same period a year ago. Looking ahead, Gilead, based in Foster City, California, raised its guidance for sales to $29 to $30 billion, up from its prior guidance of $28 to $29 billion. Earnings, while not specifically mentioned in the announcement, should hit $10.85 per share for the full year on margin expansion. The hepatitis C drugs represent two of the most successful drug launches ever, marked by their high cure rates, fewer side effects and imposing price tags. But they also have been facing competition from new hepatitis C treatments like AbbVie’s Viekira Pak, which started sales in December and Merck submitted a new drug application for its combination treatment for hepatitis C to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May. The equity still has room to run at a reasonable 11 times estimated 2015 earnings, but may fast approach overheated territory should competition and pricing pressures persist. Indeed a stock to keep one’s eye on.