By Deena Beasley and Michael Erman
(Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc. posted worse-than-expected quarterly results on Thursday, but raised its 2020 sales forecast to include revenue from its antiviral drug remdesivir, one of the only treatments shown for it. assisted COVID-19 patients.
Gilead said it forecasts total sales by 2020 of $ 23 billion to $ 25 billion, up from its previous level of $ 21.8 billion to $ 22.2 billion.
“We think that means up to $ 1 billion $ 3 billion of remdesivir, … a positive that was not expected at the beginning of the year,” said Jefferia analyst Michael Yee.
Gilead second-quarter sales fell nearly 10% from a year earlier to $ 5.1 billion, less than the analyst’s average estimate of $ 5.3 billion, according to Refinitiv.
The results reflected poor sales of Gilead hepatitis medication and HIV flag treatments during coronavirus pandemic blockades. The company said it expects its sales of 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 below analysts’ average estimate of 34 cents.
Gilead shares, which closed about 1% in regular trading, fell 3.5% to $ 69.80 in extended trading.
Gilead second-quarter HIV drug sales fell 1% from a year earlier to $ 4 billion, while hepatitis C drug sales fell 47% to $ 448 million due to fewer new patients and competition from rival medicine.
Gilead this month began commercial sales of remdesivir, which is given to hospitalized patients by infusion. The drug was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May after demonstrating an ability to shorten hospital stays for COVID-19 patients, but still does not have full U.S. approval. Also approved in Japan.
Demand for remdesivir continues to exceed supply in many parts of the world.
Gilead chief executive Daniel O’Day, in a conference call, said the company expects to produce enough remdesivir by the end of September to meet global demand in real time.
Gilead said it still expects the manufacturer to deliver 2 million or more courses of remdesivir cumulatively by 2020, and its revenue outlook reflects expected sales of up to 1.5 million courses this year.
The company said it has begun a clinical trial for an absorbent formulation of remdesivir, with the aim of delivering the drug more efficiently to the lung tissue. Gilead also plans to study the drug in patients with early-stage COVID-19.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is currently conducting a remedsivir trial in combination with Olumiant, an arthritis remedy by Eli Lilly & Co., and those results are expected next month.
To date, only the steroid generic remdesivir and dexamethasone have been shown in rigorous clinical trials to assist patients with COVID-19.
(Reporting by Deena Beasley and Michael Erman; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Leslie Adler)