A lab technician inspects filled vials of the drug remdesivir used to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a Gilead Sciences facility in La Verne, California.
Gilead Sciences Inc | Reuters
Gilead Sciences reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday as sales of President Donald Trump's touted remodivir for the treatment of coronavirus increased sales 17% year over year.
Gilead's antiviral drug Remdesivir, sold under the brand name Veklury last week, was the first and only treatment fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Coronavirus treatment had third-quarter sales of $ 873 million, primarily in the United States.
Gilead's total revenue for the third quarter was $ 6.5 billion, up from $ 5.5 billion a year earlier and above the expected $ 6.3 billion. The company reported adjusted earnings of $ 2.11 per share, which was higher than what analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had forecast of $ 1.90 per share.
Gilead has also trimmed the upper end of its full-year outlook, and now expects sales between $ 23 billion and $ 23.5 billion. Previously, the company had expected sales between $ 23 billion and $ 25 billion.
Excluding remdesivir, the company's total revenue increased 2% year over year to $ 5.6 billion. The California-based company said remdesivir revenues "are subject to significant volatility and uncertainty" depending on the global health care environment.
Revenue from its HIV drug business increased 8% to $ 4.5 billion in the third quarter, Gilead said. Revenue for the HCV franchise fell 31% to $ 464 million as people in the United States and Europe had fewer health screenings due to the pandemic.
The company announced in August that it plans to produce more than 2 million remdesivir treatment courses by the end of the year and expects to produce "several million more" in 2021.
"We are … now able to meet global demand as we have been working on increasing our supply since January," said CEO Daniel O’Day during an investor meeting on Wednesday.
Remdesivir costs $ 2,340 for a five-day treatment course for people covered by government health programs and health systems in other countries, and $ 3,120 for US patients with private health insurance.