Gilead 1st-quarter profit rises despite lower HIV drug sales

April 29 (Reuters) - Gilead Sciences Inc on Thursday said its first-quarter product sales rose 16%, including $1.46 billion in sales of its COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir, but sales of flagship HIV and hepatitis C drugs were down due to the effects of the pandemic.

The biotech company reported adjusted earnings of $2.08 per share, edging out the average analyst estimate of $2.07 as compiled by Refinitiv. Net income rose to $1.72 billion from $1.54 billion.

The 16% rise in revenue for the quarter to $6.4 billion was still short of Wall Street estimates of $6.73 billion.

Gilead said the COVID-19 pandemic continued to hurt sales of its treatments for hepatitis C and HIV, due to fewer people going to their doctors during the pandemic. It now expects a more gradual recovery in the market starting in the current quarter.

Excluding remdesivir, its product sales fell 11% to $4.9 billion.

Sale of remdesivir, which is sold under the brand name Veklury, were also below analysts’ estimates of $1.56 billion. The company said Veklury sales would continue to be subject of significant volatility and uncertainty.

Gilead earlier this week said it would provide support to local manufacturing facilities in India, where the COVID-19 pandemic is raging out of control, and donate active pharmaceutical ingredient to scale up remdesivir production.

For full-year 2021, the California-based company said it still expects adjusted earnings per share of $6.75 to $7.45 on product sales of $23.7 billion to $25.1 billion.

Reporting By Deena Beasley Editing by Bill Berkrot