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Gilead’s COVID-19 drug Veklury brought in almost $2bn in Q4

Antiviral drug also brought in $2.8bn for the full year

Gilead’s COVID-19 antiviral drug Veklury, also known as remdesivir, brought in close to $2bn in sales in the company’s fourth quarter results.

In Q4 2020, Veklury brought over $1.9bn, while for the full year the antiviral drug produced sales of $2.8bn.

It’s likely that much of those sales were primarily driven by the growing use of Veklury in the US – one in two hospitalised patients in the US are now being treated with the drug, according to Gilead's chief executive officer Daniel O’Day.

Overall, Gilead’s total revenues increased by 26%, including Veklury, in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year, while full year sales grew by 10% to $24.4bn.

That increase, Gilead said, was mainly driven by the launch of Veklury in 2020, with the COVID-19 drug also offsetting declines in other areas of the US pharma company’s business.

This included HIV products sales, which were down 7% in the fourth quarter to $4.3bn – although full-year sales were up 3% to $16.9bn in 2020.

Gilead has attributed the Q4 decrease to lower sales of its Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir)-based products, given that the company lost exclusivity of Truvada and Atripla in the US in October 2020.

Its hepatitis C virus (HCV) business also took a major hit, slipping by 33% to $423m in the fourth quarter and 30% to $2.1bn for the full year compared to the same periods in 2019.

The decrease in Gilead’s HCV product sales was caused, according to the company, by lower patient starts in the US and Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, aside from Veklury, there were some other product sale increases among the Q4 results, including growth for Gilead’s cell therapy products.

This includes Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and Tecartus M (brexucabtagene autoleucel), which helped to grow sales by 34% to $163m in Q4 and 33% to $607m for the entire year.

Gilead said growth in this area was caused primarily by continued uptake of Yescarta in Europe and the third quarter launch of Tecartus in the US.

For its 2021 guidance, Gilead is aiming for 2021 products sales – excluding Veklury – to reach between $23.7bn and $25.1bn.

Gilead has also forecast sales of Veklury in 2021 to hit between $2bn and $3bn, although the company added that ‘Veklury sales are subject to significant volatility and uncertainty due to a highly dynamic and complex global health environment, which continues to evolve’.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

5th February 2021

From: Sales

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