Gilead Sciences ( GILD) said its first-quarter revenue surged 22% from a year earlier as product sales reached a record high of $1.45 billion. The Foster City, Calif., biotechnology company had total revenue of $1.53 billion, up from $1.26 billion a year ago. Gilead earned $589.1 million, or 63 cents a share, including after-tax stock-based compensation expenses of $30.3 million, compared with earnings of $488.3 million and 51 cents a share last year. Before items, the company would have earned 66 cents. Analysts were calling for a profit of 59 cents and revenue of $1.50 billion.
Product sales, meanwhile, rose 27% from $1.14 billion in the first quarter of 2008, mainly because of antiviral drugs. The HIV fighters Atripla and Truvada saw their sales increase 57% and 23%, respectively. Truvada's sales totaled $590.4 million, and revenue from Atripla reached $509.9 million. Sales of Letairis, a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, nearly doubled to $39.6 million. Gilead's shares slipped 4 cents to $43.73 in the regular session, but the stock climbed $1.67, or 3.8%, to $45.40 in late trading. The coming days will see more reports from the biotech sector, including Elan ( ELN), Genzyme ( GENZ) and Amgen ( AMGN).