Piper Jaffray Ups Gilead Sciences to Outperform

Analyst Thomas Wei says his upgrade is based on the biotech firm's better fundamental performance

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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