Gilead Beats Targets

The biotech firm posts strong numbers.
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Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

said Tuesday that first-quarter earnings and sales handily beat analysts' estimates and far exceeded results for the same period last year.

The Foster City, Calif.-based biotech company, which specializes in HIV/AIDS medications, earned $157.1 million, or 34 cents a share, on revenue of $430.4 million for the three months ended March 31.

The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call forecast a profit of 29 cents a share on revenue of $397.9 million.

For the first quarter of 2004, Gilead earned $114.4 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $309.1 million.

Gilead released the financial results after markets closed. In regular trading, its stock gained 99 cents, or 2.8%, to close at $36.19. After hours, the stock added 2.2% more.

The company was paced by sales growth among three HIV drugs -- Truvada, Viread and Emtriva. Together, they produced sales of $301.4 million for the first quarter, up 47% from the same period last year.

Much of that gain was attributed to Truvada, which reached the U.S. market in the third quarter of 2004 and several European countries during the first quarter of 2005. Truvada combines Emtriva and Viread in a single tablet.

Sales of Hepsera, a drug for people with chronic hepatitis B virus, jumped to $42.7 million from $18.9 million.