Friday, February 3, 2012

Gilead Sciences 4Q profit rises on HIV drug sales
(AP)  FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Gilead Sciences Inc.'s profit grew 6 percent in the fourth quarter on greater sales of its HIV drugs including Atripla.

Gilead said Thursday that its profit rose to $665.1 million, or 87 cents per share, from $629.4 million, or 76 cents per share, one year ago. Excluding acquisition, restructuring, and stock-based compensation expenses, Gilead said it earned 97 cents per share, far short of analyst estimates for $1.05.

Shares of Gilead fell 56 cents to $48.75 after hours after rising 16 cents to $49.31 during Thursday's regular trading session.

Revenue grew 10 percent, to $2.2 billion from $2 billion. Analyst expected $2.18 billion

The company said its antiviral drug sales rose 9 percent to $1.86 billion. Sales of Atripla grew 11 percent to $863.3 million. Sales of Viread held steady at $190.9 million, and sales of Complera, which was approved in August, totaled $19.7 million.

Sales of Gilead's heart drug Letairis grew 23 percent to $78.7 million, and sales of Ranexa for angina rose 23 percent to $83.7 million. Sales of other products held steady at $151.1 million.

On Jan. 17, Gilead bought hepatitis C drug developer Pharmasset for $11.1 billion. Pharmasset is studying several experimental treatments for hepatitis C, including PSI-7977, a pill that is seen as promising. Doctors may be able to prescribe the pill as part of a regimen that does not include interferon, an injection that is a staple of hepatitis C treatment that causes difficult side effects.

The hepatitis C virus can cause life-threatening liver damage and it is the main cause of liver transplants in the United States. Analysts expect it to become a bigger health problem as baby boomers age.

In 2011, Gilead Sciences said its profit slipped 3 percent, to $2.8 billion from $2.9 billion. Earnings per share grew to $3.55 from $3.32 as Gilead bought back around 83 million shares. Revenue rose 5 percent, to $8.39 billion from $7.95 billion.

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