By Dina Beasley and Michael Herman
(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc on Thursday posted worse-than-expected quarterly results, but raised its sales forecast for 2020 to include revenue from its antiviral drug remdezivir, one of the only treatments shown to help patients with COVID-1
Gilead said it expects total sales in 2020 of $ 23 billion to $ 25 billion, compared to the previous range of $ 21.8 billion to $ 22.2 billion.
“We think that suggests up to $ 1 billion to $ 3 billion of remdezivir, … positive, which wasn’t expected at the beginning of the year,” said Jeffries analyst Michael Yee.
Gilead’s second-quarter sales fell nearly 10 percent from a year earlier to $ 5.1 billion, less than the analyst’s average estimate of $ 5.3 billion, according to Refinitiv.
The results reflect poor sales of Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs and leading HIV treatment during the blockade of the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it expects sales of drugs against HIV and hepatitis C to begin to regain momentum in the current third quarter.
Adjusted earnings for the second quarter of $ 1.11 per share fell short of analysts’ average of 34 cents.
Shares of Gilead, which closed about 1% in regular trading, fell 3.5% to $ 69.80 in long-term trading.
HIV sales for the second quarter fell 1 percent from a year earlier to $ 4 billion, while sales of hepatitis C drugs fell 47 percent to $ 448 million due to fewer new patients and competition from competing drugs. .
Gilead this month began commercial sales of Remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients by infusion. The drug was approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration in May after demonstrating the ability to shorten hospital stays for patients with COVID-19, but has not yet been fully approved by the United States. It is approved in Japan.
Demand for Remdesivir continues to outpace supply in many parts of the world.
Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day said during a conference call that the company expects to produce enough remdezivir by the end of September to meet real-time global demand.
Gilead said it still expects to produce 2 million or more courses of remdezivir treatment cumulatively in 2020, and its revenue estimates reflect expected sales of up to 1.5 million courses this year.
The company said it had launched a clinical trial of an inhaled composition of remdezivir to deliver the drug more efficiently to lung tissue. Gilead also plans to study the drug in patients with an earlier stage of COVID-19.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States is currently testing remdezivir in combination with Olumiant, an arthritis drug from Eli Lilly & Co., and these results are expected next month.
To date, only remedezivir and the generic steroid dexamethasone have been shown in rigorous clinical trials to help patients with COVID-19.
(Reports by Dina Beasley and Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Bercrot and Leslie Adler)