Gilead Sciences reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday as sales of its coronavirus treatment remdesivir touted by President Donald Trump drove revenue up by 17% from last year.
Gilead's antiviral drug remdesivir, selling under the brand name Veklury, last week became the first and only treatment granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating Covid-19 patients. The coronavirus treatment generated $873 million in sales during the third quarter, mostly in the U.S., the company said.
Gilead's total sales were $6.5 billion in the third quarter, up from $5.5 billion a year ago and more than the $6.3 billion analysts expected. The company reported adjusted earnings of $2.11 per share, higher than the $1.90 per share projected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Gilead also cut the top end of its full-year outlook, now expecting revenue between $23 billion and $23.5 billion. It had previously said it expected revenue between $23 billion and $25 billion.
Excluding remdesivir, the company's total sales increased 2% to $5.6 billion compared with a year earlier. The California-based company said remdesivir's revenue is "subject to significant volatility and uncertainly" depending on the global health environment.
Gilead said sales in its HIV drug business increased 8% to $4.5 billion during the third quarter. Sales for its HCV franchise fell 31% to $464 million as people in the U.S. and Europe had fewer health screenings due to the pandemic.
The company said in August that it planned to produce more than 2 million treatment courses of remdesivir by the end of the year and anticipated being able to make "several million more" in 2021.
"We're... now in position to meet global demand because of the work we've done since January to ramp up our supply," CEO Daniel O’Day said during an investor call on Wednesday.
Remdesivir costs $2,340 for a five-day treatment course for people covered by government health programs and other countries' health-care systems, and $3,120 for U.S. patients with private health coverage.