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HIV drug sales lift Gilead profits
 
 
  Bloomberg News
 
Gilead Sciences Inc. said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled as sales climbed for the Foster City company's Truvada medicine, which combines two HIV drugs into a single, once-a-day pill.
 
Net income rose to $281.6 million, or 59 cents a share, from $110.2 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, Gilead said Monday in a statement. A payment from Roche Holding AG to settle a dispute over the Tamiflu influenza drug added to earnings. Revenue climbed 65 percent to $609.3 million.
 
Truvada sales almost quadrupled to $191.1 million, less than some investors expected, said Geoffrey Porges, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Gilead is trying to wrest market share for combination therapies from London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world's biggest seller of HIV drugs.
 
"This looks like a pretty strong quarter across the board. The only issue is with the Truvada number," Porges, who rates the shares "outperform" and doesn't own the stock, said in a telephone interview. "Truvada was about $6 million less than people were expecting."
 
Sales of HIV drugs will rise to $1.675 billion to $1.75 billion in 2006, Chief Financial Officer John Milligan said Monday on a conference call with analysts and investors.
 
That's an increase of as much as 25 percent from the $1.39 billion of AIDS drug sales recorded in 2005, Milligan said.
 
Gilead reported results after U.S. markets closed.
 
The shares fell $1.34, or 2.3 percent, to $56.56 in late trading Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They had declined $1.84, or 3.1 percent, to $57.90 at the close of regular trading.
 
 
 
 
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