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Gilead beat Street estimates as Sovaldi sales soar

Gilead Sciences delivered quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations on Wednesday as sales of its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi were stronger than expected.

Sovaldi generated $3.48 billion in revenue during the quarter, easily beating analyst expectations for $2.87 billion in sales.

In its first two record shattering full quarters on the market, Sovaldi has racked up about $5.8 billion in sales.

Darryl Kato, research scientist for Gilead Sciences, works on the synthesis of a potential hepatitis C virus drug candidate at the company's lab in Foster City, California, Feb. 8, 2012.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Darryl Kato, research scientist for Gilead Sciences, works on the synthesis of a potential hepatitis C virus drug candidate at the company's lab in Foster City, California, Feb. 8, 2012.

Sovaldi, which won U.S. approval in December, has been a lightning rod for a fierce debate over prescription drug prices.

Its $84,000 cost for a 12-week course of treatment, about $1,000 per pill, has caused concerns that high demand will place a huge burden on government-run health plans and private health insurers.

The company posted second-quarter earnings, excluding items, of $2.36 per share up from 50 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue increased to $6.53 billion from $2.77 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $1.79 a share on $5.86 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Gilead's Zydelig drug, which will compete with Pharmacyclics' drug Imbruvica, received Food and Drug Administration approval to treat three types of blood cancer.

It was also approved under a so-called accelerated approval program for relapsed follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and relapsed small lymphocytic lymphoma, when patients have received at least two prior therapies.

As of Tuesday's close, Gilead shares had gained more than 33 percent over the last 12 months.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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