Gilead Doubles 2014 Revenue Forecast on Sovaldi Sales

Gilead Sciences Inc., maker of the hepatitis C pill Sovaldi, doubled its sales forecast for the year on better-than-estimated revenue from the blockbuster pill.

Gilead forecast 2014 product sales of $21 billion to $23 billion, doubling its February estimate, reiterated on April 22, of $11.3 billion to $11.5 billion that didn’t include the hepatitis C drug.

Sovaldi, whose $1,000-a-pill price tag has been scrutinized by insurers and lawmakers, reported sales of $3.48 billion in the second quarter, beating the $3 billion average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Net income increased 4.7 times to $3.65 billion, or $2.20 a share, from $772.6 million, or 46 cents a year earlier, the Foster City, California-based company said today in a statement. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $2.36 a share, beating by 57 cents the average of 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue more than doubled to $6.53 billion.

Sovaldi was approved last year as a breakthrough treatment for the viral liver infection, which can eventually lead to liver failure and the need for a transplant. The medicine offers higher cure rates and fewer side effects than older treatments, and its high cost has spurred resistance from insurers, public health advocates, and U.S. lawmakers.

Gilead also announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved Zydelig for treatment of patients with three types of drug cancers.

Gilead shares gained 1.1 percent to $90.34 at the close in New York before the earnings were announced. The company has increased 53 percent in the past 12 months.

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