October 26, 2017 / 8:43 PM / a year ago

Gilead 3rd-quarter profit falls, but beats Wall Street estimates

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc reported lower third-quarter profits on Thursday as use of its flagship hepatitis C drugs continued to wane, but the results beat Wall Street estimates due to lower costs.

Gilead, which in August paid nearly $12 billion for cancer immunotherapy company Kite Pharma, said it earned $2.27 a share after one-time items. Wall Street analysts, on average, had forecast $2.13 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Gilead's quarterly sales of hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi, Harvoni, Epclusa and Vosevi totaled $2.2 billion, down from $3.3 billion a year earlier, and close to the $2.24 billion forecast by analysts. The company's antiviral and HIV drug sales rose to $3.6 billion from $3.5 billion.

Gilead warned earlier this year that sales of its high-priced hepatitis C drugs were declining as fewer patients were deemed eligible for treatment and competition grew.

Overall revenue fell to $6.5 billion from $7.5 billion, while analysts had forecast $6.4 billion. Research and development costs dropped to $789 million from $1.14 billion.

The company said it now expects full-year 2017 hepatitis C sales of no more than $9 billion, down from a previous high-end estimate of $9.5 billion.

Gilead also raised the lower end of its full-year 2017 product sales outlook to $24.5 billion from a previous estimate of $24 billion, but left the upper end unchanged at $25.5 billion.

Net income fell to $2.7 billion from $3.3 billion in the year-ago quarter (Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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