Gilead Sciences: Investors Are Betting On A Better 2019
After all this time is Gilead Sciences finally emerging as a growth story?The drugmaker posted fourth-quarter financial results after Tuesday’s market close, delivering estimate-beating per-share profit and revenue, earning $1.78 on sales of $5.95 billion.But forecasts for full-year 2018 sales of $20 billion to $21 billion fell short of expectations. Fourth-quarter sales and full-year revenue estimates for the company’s hepatitis C drugs, which cure the liver-damaging viral infection, also fell short of the mark.Yet investors don’t seem to care. That’s because when Chief Financial Officer Robin Washington was asked by an analyst during last night’s conference call whether hepatitis C trends had hit a trough, she responded yes.
The drugs, which were once the company’s most powerful franchise, have been in decline over the past three years, and face more pressure this year due to the arrival of an aggressively priced new medicine from AbbVie. With revenues now expected to stabilize this year, the market’s focus turns to Gilead’s research pipeline, a new HIV drug launch on the horizon, possible M&A deals and the company’s big bet on novel cancer therapies with last year’s $12 billion purchase of Kite Pharma.“I think after years of having to be defensive about HCV revenues declining, it’s very nice to be on the other side of that and talk about the positive trends going forward, and we hope that that will dominate the conversation throughout the year,” Chief Executive John Milligan told investors during last night’s conference call.