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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nasdaq  >  Gilead Sciences, Inc.    GILD

GILEAD SCIENCES, INC.

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Merck to move COVID-19 treatment into large trials, sees sales recovering this year

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07/31/2020 | 11:41am EDT
The Merck logo is seen at a gate to the Merck & Co campus in Linden, New Jersey

Merck & Co on Friday said it plans to advance an antiviral treatment for COVID-19 into large studies in the coming weeks, and it forecast a more limited hit to full-year sales and profit from coronavirus lockdowns than it previously expected.

The U.S. drugmaker said two large trials of the oral antiviral being developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics would begin in September. Merck said it can manufacture "many millions of doses" of the drug before year end.

Gilead Sciences Inc's intravenous antiviral remdesivir is currently being widely used as a treatment for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Merck also expects its two experimental coronavirus vaccines to start human trials later this year, lagging some rivals who have begun late-stage studies.

The vaccine it picked up through its acquisition of Themis Bioscience should start clinical studies in the current quarter, while another being developed with nonprofit research organization IAVI should begin trials by year end.

Effective treatments and vaccines are seen as essential to halting a pandemic that has killed over 674,000 people worldwide and battered global economies.

Merck said it hopes its experimental coronavirus vaccines can be effective with a single dose

"In dealing with an aggressive, globally dispersed disease like COVID-19, we believe that it is wise to lower the barrier to vaccination as much as possible, for example, by launching a vaccine that is effective with just a single administration," Merck research head Roger Perlmutter said on a conference call.

Merck said it now expects a 2020 revenue decline of $1.95 billion due to the precipitous drop in medical visits early in the pandemic, from its prior estimate of $2.1 billion. The company said it expects a return to normal levels in the fourth quarter.

"Business conditions have clearly improved and ... we believe the healthcare system is better positioned to provide patient access as we move through the balance of the year," said Chief Financial Officer Robert Davis.

The company noted that it still had strong second-quarter sales from blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda. Keytruda sale rose nearly 29% to $3.39 billion, ahead of Wall Street expectations.

Total sales fell 7.6% to $10.87 billion due to a $1.6 billion pandemic-related hit in the quarter. That still exceeded analysts' estimates of $10.39 billion.

Merck raised its full-year adjusted profit forecast to $5.63 to $5.78 per share from a prior range of $5.17 and $5.37.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Michael Erman in Maplewood, New Jersey.; Editing by Bernard Orr, Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)

By Manas Mishra and Michael Erman

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
GILEAD SCIENCES, INC. -1.21% 68.51 Delayed Quote.6.73%
MERCK & CO., INC. -0.14% 80.91 Delayed Quote.-10.92%
PATIENT ACCESS SOLUTIONS, INC. 3.31% 0.05155 Delayed Quote.283.85%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2020 24 071 M - -
Net income 2020 2 800 M - -
Net Debt 2020 11,3 M - -
P/E ratio 2020 37,7x
Yield 2020 3,95%
Capitalization 85 893 M 85 893 M -
EV / Sales 2020 3,57x
EV / Sales 2021 3,48x
Nbr of Employees 11 800
Free-Float 99,5%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 30
Average target price 80,13 $
Last Close Price 68,51 $
Spread / Highest target 41,6%
Spread / Average Target 17,0%
Spread / Lowest Target -9,50%
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Managers
NameTitle
Daniel P. O'Day Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Andrew D. Dickinson Chief Financial Officer
William A. Lee Executive Vice President-Research
Merdad V. Parsey Chief Medical Officer
George Pratt Shultz Director-Emeritus
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