Gilead ups outlook despite pandemic, buyout charges dragging Q2 results

Headline results for the second quarter:

  • Product sales: $5.07 billion, down 10%
  • Revenue: $5.14 billion, versus $5.7 billion in the prior year
  • Loss: $3.3 billion, versus a profit of $1.9 billion in the prior year

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O'Day remarked that the company's "first-half performance demonstrates the strength and durability of our core HIV business, even as we navigated the expected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic." He added "we are already starting to see early signs of recovery from this impact and we are fully confident in our long-term HIV leadership."

Gilead said its quarterly sales decrease was mainly due to lower volumes of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) products as a result of the pandemic, which saw fewer patients going to see their healthcare providers and undergoing screenings. It noted that this was partially offset by underlying demand growth in the HIV business, with continued patient uptake of Biktarvy, as well as Descovy for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

The company also attributed its $3.3-billion loss in the quarter to a $4.5-billion charge related to the acquisition of Forty Seven earlier this year.

Other results:

  • Total HIV product sales: $4 billion, down 1%, with lower sales volume for Truvada-based products and pandemic-related weaker demand for PrEP "substantially offset" by sales of Biktarvy and Descovy for PrEP
    • Biktarvy: $1.6 billion, up from $1.1 billion
    • Genvoya: $816 million, down from $980 million
    • Truvada: $387million, down from $718 million
    • Descovy: $417 million, up from $358 million
    • Odefsey: $382 million, down from $387 million
  • Total hepatitis C product sales: $448 million, down 47%, hit by lower patient starts in the US and Europe due to COVID-19
    • Epclusa and authorised generic version: $335 million, down from $493 million
    • Harvoni and authorised generic version: $67 million, down from $193 million
  • Yescarta: $156 million, up from $120 million, primarily driven by the continued uptake in Europe
  • US product sales: $3.8 billion, down 7%,
  • European product sales: $724 million, down 30%

Looking ahead:

Gilead boosted the financial outlook it provided earlier this year, when it projected earnings of $6.05 to $6.45 per share on product sales ranging from $21.8 billion to $22.2 billion in 2020. It now anticipates products will generate revenues between $23 billion and $25 billion, while earnings are estimated to range from $6.25 to $7.65 per share.

The company said that while the impact of COVID-19 remains unpredictable, "Gilead is in a strong position due to underlying demand drivers, its level of product differentiation and patient benefit in [its] core HIV franchise." The drugmaker also anticipates a "gradual recovery" in HIV PrEP, while patients starts in HCV are expected to "re-gain momentum" in the third quarter 2020 and beyond.

Pipeline update:

In regards to its coronavirus drug remdesivir, Gilead said it has bolstered internal manufacturing capabilities with "significant additional capacity" from multiple partners in North America, Europe and Asia. It currently expects to have manufactured more than 2 million treatment courses of the antiviral by the end of 2020, and "several million more" next year.

What analysts said:

RBC Capital Markets analyst Brian Abraham said "the drawdown of the first quarter's accelerated purchases and one-time items, coupled with remdesivir investments and expected lower PrEP/[hepatitis C] usage, hampered second-quarter numbers even more so than expected."

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