Gilead Q3 Product Sales Up 60% Due to HIV Drugs; Company Stops Development of Two Experimental HIV Drugs
The Foster City, Calif.-based drug maker Gilead Sciences on Thursday said its product sales increased 60% to $310.7 million in the third quarter of 2004, primarily because of higher prescription sales of its antiretroviral drugs Viread, Emtriva and Truvada, Reuters reports. The company also said it has stopped development of two experimental HIV treatments, known as GS 7340 and GS 9005. HIV drug sales for the company rose 88% to $228.1 million, contributing to a 55% increase in overall profit over the third quarter of 2003. However, some analysts questioned Gilead's growth prospects because it dropped development of GS 7340 and GS 9005, and the company's shares fell more than 7% in after-hours trading on INET. "There will be increasing pressure to bring in drugs through licensing or an acquisition," Ian Somaiya, an analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners, said, adding, "Bringing in a late-stage drug could be costly. ... [T]here is always the question of how dilutive an acquisition would be." Gilead raised its outlook for HIV sales to between $870 million and $890 million for the full year (Beasley, Reuters, 10/21). FDA approved Truvada, which combines Viread and Emtriva, in August (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/3).
Trimeris' Fuzeon Sales Rise 11%
Durham, N.C.-based drug maker Trimeris on Thursday announced an 11% increase in third-quarter sales of kits of its injection antiretroviral drug Fuzeon in the United States and Canada, but the company's overall sales were down, the Raleigh News & Observer reports (Raleigh News & Observer, 10/22). Trimeris and Swiss drug maker Roche jointly developed Fuzeon, which is in a class of drugs called fusion inhibitors and is designed for HIV/AIDS patients who have failed to respond to other medications. The drug has encountered resistance from doctors and patients because of its high cost -- about $20,000 per patient annually -- and injection delivery method (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/13). While the number of kits sold in the United States and Canada increased from 13,200 in the second quarter to 14,600 in the third quarter, overall sales were down from $24.4 million during the second quarter to $21.1 million in the third quarter. However, sales outside North America rose from $12.1 million in the second quarter to $13.1 million in the third quarter (Raleigh News & Observer, 10/22).