Gilead Sciences has biotech balms for infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV, and infections related to AIDS. The company's HIV franchise includes Truvada, a combination of two of its other drugs, Viread and Emtriva. It co-promotes another HIV treatment, called Atripla, in the US and Europe with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Other products on the market include AmBisome, used to treat systemic fungal infections such as those that accompany AIDS or kidney disease; Vistide, for AIDS-related eye infections; and hepatitis B antiviral Hepsera. Beyond HIV/AIDS, Gilead also markets cardiovascular drugs Letairis and Ranexa, as well as respiratory and ophthalmic medicines.
Gilead has only been expanding into areas such as cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases since 2007. As such, the company's main source of revenue continues to be its antiviral franchise, which contributes more than 80% of product sales and primarily consists of HIV medications.
Aside from the Atripla partnership with BMS, Gilead has collaborations with other companies including Japan Tobacco, which promotes HIV drugs Truvada, Viread, and Emtriva in Japan, and with GlaxoSmithKline, which markets Hepsera, Viread, and Volbris in select international markets. Additionally, Gilead Sciences receives royalties on influenza treatment Tamiflu, which it developed with Roche, and on Macugen, an ophthalmologic drug developed by Eyetech using Gilead's technology. In addition to distributing AmBisome in Canada and the US, Astellas pays royalties on the US sales of Lexiscan which is used in stress tests for coronary artery disease.
Marketing and Sales
Gilead promotes its antiviral drugs through its own commercial infrastructure in North America, some European and Asian countries, and in Australia and New Zealand; products are promoted through partnerships in other regions. The company's product distribution processes are handled primarily by wholesalers.
Increased sales of antiviral products have provided healthy revenue increases for Gilead in recent years, with the antiviral segment producing an 8% sales increase in 2011. Sales of Atripla and Truvada have especially shown growth, with Atripla rising to above $3 billion in annual sales in 2011. The newly launched Complera/Eviplera HIV offering also boosted Gilead's revenues that year, as did increased sales of AmBisome, Ranexa, and Letaris. Overall, the company's annual revenues increased more than 5% to some $8.4 billion. Though profits had also been on a positive trajectory for several years, net income decreased in 2011 by 3% to some $2.8 billion due to increased R&D expenses and acquisition costs.
One of the pitfalls of the pharma manufacturing business is patent expirations, however, and products such as Gilead's AIDS drug Vistride have seen declining sales as they begin to face generic competition; such patent expirations can offset growth in other areas. The company also saw a decline in royalty revenues from Tamiflu in 2011 as demand for the drug decreased due to lower pandemic flu preparation efforts. Sales of Hepsera also declined marginally in 2011 due to fierce competition from other hepatitis B drugs.
Increasing sales of existing products in new territories (and sometime for new medical indications) is a major growth strategy for Gilead. With partner BMS, the firm is especially focused on increasing international commercialization of Atripla. To stay ever-vigilant about protecting itself against patent expirations on older products, the company also works to launch new or next generation drugs to keep the money coming in. The company's development programs include potential treatments for viral infections, respiratory and cardiovascular ailments, and cancer. Gilead also conducts R&D efforts through collaborations; for instance, it has a development partnership with Japan Tobacco on new HIV drugs. As yet another way of fending off losses from patent expirations, Gilead Sciences has diversified its product line through acquisitions.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company made a bold diversification move in early 2012 when it purchased Pharmasset, a development firm with a promising pipeline of hepatitis C candidates, for some $11 billion. Following the purchase, Pharmasset's operations were integrated into the Gilead organization.
In late 2012 Gilead struck another deal, this time to purchase YM BioSciences for some $126 million. The purchase adds clinical development programs for oncology therapies in the field of hematologic cancers.
Gilead had already been keeping a steady acquisition pace to help it expand in new product areas. In 2010 and 2011 it made several smaller purchases to expand its development pipeline in areas including cancer, inflammation, fibrotic disease, and respiratory ailment treatments. – less