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Gilead Sciences posts 15 percent rise in 4Q profit

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) -- HIV drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc. said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit grew nearly 15 percent on higher sales of antiviral drugs, edging past analyst estimates.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31 Gilead Sciences earned $762.5 million, or 47 cents per share, up from $665.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the last quarter of 2011. Excluding restructuring and other one-time costs, the company would have earned 50 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings per share of 48 cents per share. Results are adjusted to reflect a 2-for-1 stock split that was effective last month.

Revenue increased 18 percent to $2.59 billion, led by sales of HIV drugs like Complera, Atripla and Truvada. Analysts expected $2.44 billion, on average.

Results were impacted by higher operating costs, which increased 11 percent to $1.5 billion, Gilead said.

Sales of the company's best-selling HIV drug Viread increased 19 percent to $227 million. Sales of the company's newest HIV drug, Stribild, which launched in August, were $40 million.

After decades as the dominant company in the HIV field, Gilead Sciences is positioning itself to move into the hepatitis C space with several potential treatments. In November the company released positive results for a three-drug combination treatment for hepatitis C.

For the full year, Gilead posted net income of $2.59 billion, or $1.64 per share. Revenue rose 16 percent year over year to $9.7 billion.

Company shares fell 97 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at $39.59.