Gilead posts Q4 loss, lower revenue, while 2018 sales outlook disappoints

Gilead Sciences on Tuesday said that it recorded a loss of $3.9 billion for the fourth quarter, down from a profit of $3.1 billion in the same period last year. The drugmaker noted that the figure reflects a charge of $5.5 billion associated with recent changes in US tax laws.

Meanwhile, the company recorded $5.95 billion in revenue for the quarter, down 18.7 percent year-over-year, but besting forecasts of $5.7 billion. Product sales for the three-month period totalled $5.8 billion, versus $7.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.

For specific products, the drugmaker amassed $1.5 billion in revenue for its hepatitis C portfolio, down from $3.2 billion in the year-ago quarter, but in line with expectations. Meanwhile, sales of Gilead's HIV and hepatitis B products rose from $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $3.7 billion for the same period last year.

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For the full year, Gilead reported $26.1 billion in revenue, versus $30.4 billion for the prior year, with annual product sales of $25.7 billion. The company noted that revenue from hepatitis C drugs reached $9.1 billion in 2017, down from $14.8 billion a year earlier. Meanwhile, annual net profit reached $4.6 billion, compared to $13.5 billion in 2016.

Gilead said that for 2018, it expects product revenue in the range of $20 billion to $21 billion, below analyst expectations of $21.3 billion. In addition, sales of hepatitis C drugs are forecast to be between $3.5 billion and $4 billion, short of analyst predictions of $5.45 billion. The company added that earnings this year are anticipated to be the range of $1.41 per share to $1.51 per share, while it expects a tax rate of between of 21 percent and 23 percent.

Last December, Gilead reached an agreement to purchase Cell Design Labs for up to $567 million. The deal followed Gilead's $11.9-billion acquisition of CAR-T therapy developer Kite Pharma in August.

According to Gilead, fourth-quarter sales of Yescarta, which the company gained via its deal with Kite Pharma, reached $7 million. The CAR-T cell therapy is approved in the US for certain adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma. CEO John Milligan noted that the company now has 28 centres certified to treat patients with Yescarta and is seeing a "slowly growing momentum” in patient enrolment at those locations.

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