The antiviral drug, remdesivir was a huge hit as a treatment for the seriously ill during the Covid-19 pandemic the world over, which drove the performance of its maker Gilead Sciences Inc to report a 26 per cent rise in its revenues for the fourth quarter of 2020 which was well above the estimates of analysts at the Wall Street.
The strong end to the year prompted the drug maker to forecast its 2021 results well above the estimates of analysts at Wall Street.
The results also caused a 2.5 per cent rise in the stocks of the company in extended trading on Thursday.
The current pandemic situation is also still hampering its business and sales, Gilead said, as many of its popular medicines such as the treatments for hepatitis C and HIV are being hit as lesser number of patients are visiting their doctors amid the pandemic environment.
According to the expectations of the company, there will be a gradual recovery in the underlying market dynamics globally form the beginning of the second quarter of the current year.
During the fourth quarter ended December 31, sale revenue of $1.9 billion was generated from the sale of remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury. That was well over the estimate of analysts at $1.34 billion. There was however a drop of 7 per cent in the sale of all other of the company’s medicines and treatments during the quarter except Veklury, Gilead said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, remdesivir continues to be a critical tool to fight the viral disease the company said while forecasting sales of up to $3 billion for the drug for the current year.
Remdesivir does not target the spike proteins of the coronavirus unlike most of the current Covid-19 vaccines and some other drugs, said Gilead Chief Medical Officer Merdad Parsey. The spike proteins have lareayd been found to have been altered in some of the recently identified variants of the virus as the ones in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
“We have not so far seen mutations that would impact the efficacy of remdesivir,” he said during a conference call.
Efforts to develop an inhaled version of its critical Covid-19 drug are also currently undergoing at the company, Gilead said. Currently, remdesivir is administered to hospitalized Covid-19 patients intravenously. The company however said that the development of the inhaled version of the drug required more clinical studies.
An adjusted earnings range with a midpoint of $7.10 per share on product sales with a midpoint of $24.4 billion, was projected by the California-based company for the current year of 2021 which was well above the respective Wall Street estimates of $6.85 per share and $24.27 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)