The recent two years have been like a dream for Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) investors. The market capitalization of this innovative healthcare giant has increased by almost 160%, and by 100% in the last 52-weeks alone. This increase in investor confidence is a combination of a rich pipeline and exceptional fundamentals.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) reported its quarterly results last month and fell slightly short of the market’s unreasonably high expectations. The Street was expecting Gilead to post an EPS of $0.50, but it managed $0.48 on revenues of $2.5 billion. The miss was due to a number of short term reasons, such as inventory drawdown and a rise in R&D. The sales miss is due to the estimates miss by Truvada and Atripla.
Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) continues to work on its pipeline and has increased its R&D. There has been a slight decrease in SG&A expenses, which will continue to improve margins in coming quarters. The growth in Stribild and Complera was also unprecedented, and both drugs exceeded expectations. There are indications that the Stribild franchise will continue to grow due to increased usage of integrase inhibitors.
Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) continues to dominate the HCV market and has a worldwide market share of more than 80%. As the awareness grows in developing countries and HCV treatment penetration increases, this market will continue to outgrow expectations.
Only a few companies can match the pipeline strength of Gilead. The company has a number of promising candidates in various stages of clinical trials. Every compound has a long way to go before it can reach the FDA decision table, and still fewer compounds receive the approval of governing bodies. That said, these approvals are not the only criteria for a company’s success. Provenge and Exubera are examples of drugs that failed miserably even after getting the FDA go ahead. This is where Gilead has been so successful. The company has not only managed to win approval for its drugs, but these drugs have also shown stellar market performance. This ability to exceed expectations makes the pipeline of Gilead so strong.
The company has more than 130 active studies assessing new compounds and combinations of existing therapies. According to recent reports, the FDA has granted a priority review to Gilead’s Sofobuvir. The regulatory authority will review the drug on Dec. 8. Sofobuvir is a revolutionary Hepatitis C treatment that will get rid of interferon. Interferon is the standard treatment for Hepatitis C, but it’s after-effects are highly unpleasant for patients. These after-effects include colds and muscle fatigue, among others. AbbVie and Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) are also working on their own Interferon-free Hepatitis C treatments. This priority review can be a significant setback to their ambitions of dominating this highly lucrative market.
The HCV market holds the key to long term growth in Gilead’s revenues, but the company faces tough competition from Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and Bristol Myers Squibb. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY)’s three drug combo for treating the disease has received a lot of positive feedback from the market. According to the company, the combo was able to cure 15 out of 16 patients. Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY)’s HCV combo also avoids the use of ribavirin or Interferon, which leads to a number of highly unpleasant side effects.