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Gilead’s top-line slips 10% as demand for HIV/hepatitis C drugs drops

Disruption to uptake of HIV and hepatitis C drugs caused by pandemic


Gilead revenues and earnings have slipped in the second quarter, a decline which the company has attributed to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and costs associated with acquisition deals.

Total product sales fell 10% to $5.1bn in the second quarter of the year, compared to $5.6bn in the same quarter last year and below analyst expectations.

Gilead is pinning the blame on the disruption caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as demand for its core hepatitis C and HIV franchises declined.

HIV product sales decreased 1% to $4bn in the second quarter, while its hepatitis sales took the brunt of the hit with a 47% decrease to $448m, compared to $842m in the second quarter last year.

Sales of its Kite-partnered CAR-T cell therapy Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) climbed to $156m in the quarter, an increase on the $120m it generated for the same period in 2019.

In terms of geographical product sales, Gilead reported the majority of the decline in Europe, where product sales decreased 30% to $724m for the second quarter. The company cited lower sales volume of its hepatitis C products as the cause, driven by lower patient starts due to COVID-19.

In the US, product sales also decreased 7% to $3.8bn, which Gilead again attributed to COVID-19 disruption to its hepatitis C product sales, as well as lower sales of its pulmonary hypertension drug Letairis (ambrisentan) and chest pain med Ranexa (ranolazine) after generic entries hit the market in the first half of 2019.

Gilead also noted net loss for the second quarter could be also be attributed to charges related to its recent acquisition of immuno-oncology biotech Forty Seven.

Despite the decline, Gilead increased its financial outlook from its previously projected earnings of $6.05-$6.45 per share on product sales ranging from $21.8bn to $22.2bn up to a new forecast of between $23bn-$25bn, while earnings per share are now expected to range from $6.25 to $7.25.

During the pandemic, Gilead has been in the spotlight thanks to its investigational antiviral treatment remdesivir, which is currently being studied as a treatment for COVID-19.

The company said that it expects to produce over two million courses of the drug by the end of the year, and has priced remdesivir at $50 per vial in the US for patients with private insurance, while it will cost $390 per vial for federal insurance programmes.

Remdesivir is administered by a five-day treatment course using six vials of the drug, according to Gilead.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

31st July 2020

From: Sales



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