Gilead rises as analyst raises Stribild sales view

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. rose Monday after a JPMorgan analyst increased his price target on the stock and forecast higher sales of Stribild, Gilead's newest HIV pill.

THE SPARK: Analyst Geoff Meacham said he expects annual sales of Stribild to reach about $2.9 billion in 2015. Meacham said his firm recently conducted a survey of HIV specialists. He raised his estimates for Stribild sales by $350 million to $400 million, saying the drug will take more revenue from Complera, an older Gilead product.

"The survey suggests Stribild could emerge as the market share leader 3-5 years out" in previously untreated patients, he said, "while Atripla showed more resiliency than we had anticipated."

Meacham maintained an "Overweight" rating on Gilead shares and raised his price target to $75 per share from $70.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Foster City, Calif., company makes several HIV treatments including Atripla, Complera and Truvada. The newest is Stribild, a combination of two older therapies and two newer drugs. The product was approved in late August.

Meacham expects the company to report $10.7 billion in sales of HIV medicines in 2015, and he said Wall Street forecasts $9.4 billion on average. Meacham raised his estimate on sales of Atripla by $300 million to $350 million, although he sees weaker sales than other analysts.

In January Gilead acquired hepatitis C drug developer Pharmasset for $11.1 billion.

SHARE ACTION: Gilead shares rose $3.78, or 6.1 percent, to close at $65.80. The stock is up 41 percent since April 19, when the company reported positive data for Pharmasset's most advanced hepatitis C drug.