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Gilead (GILD) Gains 34% in 12 Months: Will the Trend Sustain?

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Shares of Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD - Free Report) have gained 34.5% in the past year against the industry’s decline of 14.1%.

Last month, Gilead reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, driven by continued solid demand for its HIV portfolio with further share growth for flagship therapy Biktarvy and oncology revenues, driven by the cell therapy franchise and Trodelvy.

Moreover, the guidance for 2023 impressed investors.


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Gilead has a strong HIV portfolio with Biktarvy and Descovy. Biktarvy remains the leading treatment for those seeking to switch to a new regimen in the United States, as well as those starting treatments in both the United States and Europe. Sales from this franchise were $17.2 billion in 2022, up 5% from 2021.

Additionally, Gilead’s HIV franchise got a boost with the FDA’s approval of lenacapavir under the brand name Sunlenca in combination with other antiretroviral(s) for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in heavily treatment-experienced (HTE) adults with multi-drug-resistant (MDR) HIV-1 infection.

Most antivirals act on just one stage of viral replication. Sunlenca is designed to inhibit HIV at multiple stages of its lifecycle and has no known cross-resistance to other existing drug classes. In addition, Sunlenca is the only HIV treatment option administered twice a year, acting as a big advantage over the existing treatments and enabling Gilead to capture market share. It was also approved by the European Commission. Hence, sales in 2023 are expected to get a boost from incremental Sunlenca revenues.

The oncology business put up a stellar performance in 2022 and fueled the top line. The Cell Therapy franchise comprising Yescarta and Tecartus sales increased 68% to $1.5 billion in 2022 from 2021 primarily due to higher demand for Yescarta in R/R LBCL, as well as Tecartus in R/R ALL and MCL.

The uptake of the breast cancer drug Trodelvy has been strong in 2022. Trodelvy sales increased 79% in 2022 from 2021, reflecting continued adoption in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (“TNBC”) in the United States and Europe.

It is also making efforts to strengthen its pipeline. Gilead entered a strategic collaboration with Arcellx, Inc. to co-develop and co-commercialize CART-ddBMCA, a late-stage clinical asset in development for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Gilead also entered an agreement to acquire Tmunity Therapeutics Inc., a clinical stage private biotech company, which will provide its wholly owned company Kite with preclinical and clinical programs, including an “armored” CAR T technology platform that has the potential to be applied to a variety of CAR Ts to enhance anti-tumor activity, as well as rapid manufacturing processes.

Hence, Gilead should put up an exemplary performance in 2023 on the back of its legacy HIV business and the strong uptake of its oncology business.

However, competition from the likes of GSK plc (GSK - Free Report) is stiff.

Strong patient demand for the new HIV medicines (Dovato, Cabenuva, Juluca, Rukobia and Apretude) boosted GSK’s HIV franchise in 2022.

Gilead currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the overall healthcare sector are Novo Nordisk (NVO - Free Report) and Ligand Therapeutics (LGND - Free Report) . Both sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

In the past 30 days, estimates for Novo Nordisk’s 2023 earnings per share have risen from $4.20 to $4.43 and the same for 2024 had moved up 29 cents to $5.19.

Ligand’s earnings per share estimates for 2023 increased to $4.32 from $3.30 in the past 30 days. LGND beat earnings estimates in one of the last four reported quarters.

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