By Deena Beasley and Michael Erman
(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 remdesivir, one of the only treatments shown to help COVID-19 patients.
Gilead said it expects total 2020 sales from $ 23 billion to $ 25 billion, up from its previous range of $ 21.8 billion to $ 22.2 billion.
“We think this implies up to $ 1 billion to $ 3 billion of remdesivir, … a positive that was not expected at the beginning of the year,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said.
Gilead’s second-quarter sales fell nearly 10% from a year earlier to $ 5.1 billion, lower than the analyst’s average estimate of $ 5.3 billion, according to Refinitiv.
The results reflected weak sales of Gilead hepatitis C drugs and major HIV treatments during a coronary artery pandemic lock. The company said it expects its drugs for 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 from analysts ’average estimate by 34 cents.
Shares of Gilead, which closed at about 1% in regular trading, had fallen 3.5% to $ 69.80 in extended trading.
Gilead’s second-quarter sales of HIV drugs fell 1% from a year earlier to $ 4 billion, while sales of hepatitis C cures fell 47% to $ 448 million due to lower new patients and competition from rival drugs.
The commercial sale of remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients by infusion, began in Gilead this month. The drug was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May after demonstrating the ability to shorten the hospital stay for COVID-19 patients, but it does not yet have the full approval of the United States. It was approved in Japan.
Demand for remdesivir continues to exceed supply in many parts of the world.
Gilead chief executive Daniel O’Day, on a phone call, said the company expects by the end of September to be producing enough remdesivir to meet global demand in real time.
Gilead said it still expects to manufacture 2 million or more remdesivir treatment courses cumulatively in 2020, and its revenue outlook reflects the expected sales of up to 1.5 million courses this year.
The company said it has launched a clinical trial of an inhaled formulation of remdesivir, with the aim of delivering the drug more effectively into the lung tissue. Gilead is also planning to study the drug in COVID-19 patients at an earlier stage.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is currently conducting a remdesivir trial in conjunction with Olumiant, an arthritis drug from Eli Lilly & Co., and those results are expected next month. entering.
To date, only remdesivir and the generic steroid dexamethasone have been demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials to assist patients with VOCID-19.
(Reporting by Deena Beasley and Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Leslie Adler)