Monday, March 3, 2014

Gilead CEO Becomes Billionaire on $84 000 Hepatitis Drug

Gilead CEO Martin Becomes Billionaire on $84,000 Liver Drug

Mar 03, 2014 11:18 am ET
(Updates with share price in 10th paragraph.)

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- John C. Martin, the chief executive officer of Gilead Sciences Inc., has become a billionaire on the prospects of a powerful new hepatitis C drug that’s attracting scrutiny from payers and activists over its $1,000 per pill price tag.

Gilead’s drug, Sovaldi, was approved in December, and is among the first of a new wave of hepatitis C treatments that can cure the liver disease faster and more reliably than previous drugs. Sovaldi, which costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment, is expected to produce $4.2 billion in revenue this year, rising to $8.1 billion in 2015, according to the average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“This is a huge change in the approach to hepatitis C treatment,” Leonard Berkowitz, chief of infectious diseases at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, said by phone. Sovaldi and other drugs like it are producing “spectacular improvements” in cure rates with minimal toxicity, he said.
Martin, who joined Gilead in 1990 and became CEO six years later, helped the company become the world’s largest maker of HIV medicines by developing drug combinations that are easy to use for patients, including a medicine called Atripla that combines three HIV-suppressing drugs and a pill with four anti- HIV drugs called Stribild.

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