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Piper Jaffray Ups Gilead Sciences to Outperform

Piper Jaffray upgraded Gilead Sciences (GILD) to outperform.

Analyst Thomas Wei says his upgrade is based on better fundamental performance. Also he sees significant upside to company guidance, and estimates third-quarter U.S. Viread sales will be $111 million. He believes the September 12 FDA action date for a combination pill is unlikely to significantly impact third-quarter Viread demand.

Still, Wei calculates total 2004 HIV sales of $875 million-plus, vs. the $850 million to $875 million guidance. He says Combivir remains key to significantly expanding the company's HIV franchise, and he estimates this opportunity at about $800 million.

Wei raised the $1.50 2004 EPS estimate to $1.80, and upped the $1.99 2005 estimate to $2.32. He raised the $77 target to $79.

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