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Harvoni sales rocket in first quarter

Gilead’s new hepatitis C pill generates stellar revenue

Harvoni packshot 

The runaway success of Gilead in 2014 is set to continue this year as first quarter sales of its hepatitis C pills recorded impressive sales that went beyond even the most optimistic of analysts' projections.

Its latest hepatitis C drug Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) and its slightly older pill Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) saw combined sales of $4.55bn for the quarter, topping analysts' average estimate of $3.61bn.

For the year, Gilead has also raised its guidance for net product sales by $2bn, and now expects sales to hit $28bn to $29bn.

Evercore ISI analyst Mark Schoenebaum said in a note to clients that Gilead “tends to be conservative, so for them to raise revenue guidance this early in the year speaks volumes”.

The success of these two medicines has helped move Gilead as the leading pharma firm in the US in terms of sales, according to consultants at GlobalData, with revenue generated from Sovaldi passing $10bn in 2014, helping the US firm to knock long-term leader Pfizer off the leader board.

Sales of Sovaldi, which must be taken with older injectable medicines, are however now falling as Harvoni, which has better and quicker success rates and can be used as an all-oral regimen, begins to see better uptake - although this was always expected to happen.

Sovaldi was approved across US and European markets in January last year while Harvoni was launched in the fourth quarter. In both of these markets, 90,000 patients started treatment on Sovaldi or Harvoni during the first quarter, Gilead said in a statement.

But whilst sales are impressive, the pills are facing increasing competition from new hep C pills, including AbbVie's Viekira Pak (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/dasabuvir/ritonavir) and Bristol-Myers Squibb's Olysio (simeprevir), while Merck & Co also has a new treatment in the works.

The drugs have come under fire for their pricing, however, with Sovaldi and Harvoni costing around $1,000 a day per patient, with total costs around $84,000 - $90,000 per patient.

But these drugs can effectively cure the vast majority of hep C patients from the disease, meaning there are significant long-terms savings down the line from using these drugs.

Article by
Ben Adams

1st May 2015

From: Sales

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