Tomahawk, WI 06/10/2014 (Basicsmedia) – Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) is on a bit of a roll with its share prices having risen by 253.93% in the last five years and 49.15% in the last one year.

With a blockbuster drug like Sovaldi generating billions in sales and multiple drug candidates in the pipeline — Cobicistat and Elvitegravir (both for HIV/AIDS), ranolazine, and Idelalisib (for non-Hodgkin’s Lmpoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemai) — Gilead is poised to see at least a few years of growth in both sales and profits in the near term.

Spectacular Quarterly Numbers

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD)’s revenues grew by 104% in 1Q2014 compared to 1Q2013 to reach $4.87 billion — beating estimates of $3.96 billion by 26.38% or nearly $1 billion. This spectacular growth was fueled by Gilead’s anti-viral products and above all Sovaldi, its blockbuster Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Anti-rival products generated $4.5 billion overall in 1Q2014 up by 119% compared to 1Q2013. Sovaldi sales amounted to $2.3 billion in 1Q2014. Other major drug contributors included HIV drugs Eviplera which saw 69% year-on-year growth and Stribild which saw 134% growth.

Sovaldi sales will keep growing in FY2014 across the 13 countries where it is sold. Its hefty price tag of $84,000 has however caused some concerns with the law-makers. Gilead’s argument in defending its pricing has been that prior treatments of HCV cost even more and had low efficacy and that with Sovaldi, treatment time has been reduced from 48 weeks to 12 weeks. Sovaldi treatment is also much cheaper than the alternate of liver transplant which costs more than $550,000, according to Gilead.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) projects FY2014 revenues in the range of $11.3 to $11.5 billion while analysts project revenues of $18.9 billion in FY2014.

Medicare to Cover HCV Screening

In what is likely to help increase Sovaldi sales, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which sets the rules about what is covered under Medicare, announced on June 03, 2014 that Medicare will pay the costs of HCV screening.

Hepatitis-C affects about three million people in the U.S. and with Medicare now paying for HCV screening, more people will go for screening lead to more cases of Hepatitis-C being diagnosed in the population leading to more doctors writing Sovaldi prescriptions adding to Gilead’s bottom line.

Risk Factors

As expected, the competitors are not sitting still. While Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) expects an approval for its Sovaldi/Ledipasvir combination therapy by October 2014, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV) are all in the process of bringing their own Hepatitis-C treatment or treatment combinations to the marketplace.

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