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Gilead Profit Up but Misses Expectations

October 29, 2003|Denise Gellene | Times Staff Writer

Gilead Sciences Inc. reported higher third-quarter profit Tuesday but missed Wall Street's earnings expectations.

Adding to the bad news, Gilead lowered its full-year sales forecast for Viread, an HIV drug and its flagship product.

The Foster City, Calif., biotechnology company released its earnings after the market close Tuesday. The company's shares rose $2.04 to $59.46 on Nasdaq before the announcement. In after-hours trading, the stock fell to $58.65.

Gilead had earnings of $73.1 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $20.8 million, or 10 cents, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding a $13.2-million gain from a contract settlement, Gilead had income of 28 cents a share, below Wall Street's forecast of 35 cents, according to Thomson First Call.

The company said revenue rose 50% to $200.4 million, compared with $134 million a year earlier.

Gilead said wholesalers lowered their Viread inventories in the quarter, hurting sales of the once-daily drug. Sales of Viread totaled $115.4 million in the third quarter, $15 million to $20 million below what some analysts had expected.

The company said it was trying to get a better handle on drug inventory levels but nonetheless lowered its full-year Viread forecast and said sales of the drug now would range from $550 million to $570 million, down from $550 million to $600 million.

Gilead said that despite inventory glitches, Viread performed well in the latest quarter and prescriptions for the drug grew 13%.

Viread competes against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Zerit, a twice-daily pill with sales of $443 million in 2002.

Sales of Gilead's drug Emtriva, a second once-daily pill launched in July, totaled $6 million for the quarter. Gilead is developing a once-daily pill that combines Viread and Emtriva to compete with GlaxoSmithKline's Combivir, the bestselling HIV drug.

Also Tuesday, Gilead announced that Emtriva received marketing approval in the European Union.

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