Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) has been in the news lately, with President Trump receiving doses of Gilead’s experimental antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) earlier this month to help treat his coronavirus infection. It’s already been an up-and-down year for Gilead — in March, the stock hit a 52-week high of $85.97 on hopes that Veklury, originally tested to fight Ebola, would be the big answer to ending the coronavirus pandemic.

The stock slowly came down to earth, however, hurt by a May report in the New England Journal of Medicine that said Veklury only shortened the time of hospitalization by four days in COVID-19 patients, compared to a placebo.

Earlier in October, the stock was trading at about $62 a share, which — while a long way from $85 — is more than three times what it went for after its initial public offering (IPO) in January of 1992.

Businessman holding onto a climbing arrow that shows compounding interest.

Image source: Getty Images.

Patient investors would have done quite well

On Jan. 22, 1992, the day of its IPO, Gilead traded for $20.16 per share. So, if you had $1,000 to spend on the stock back then, you would have been able to purchase 49 shares of Gilead. Over time and several stock splits, that would have grown to 1,568 shares today, which would make your original investment, not counting any reinvested dividends, worth $99,724.80 as of Monday’s close. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9% and an overall return of 9,995%.

More recent Gilead investors haven’t been as fortunate. As recently as the summer of 2015, when the company’s drugs dominated the hepatitis C market, the stock was trading at $118 per share. Since then, facing growing competition in that market, the company’s revenues have fallen each year, from $32 billion in 2015 to $22 billion last year. Halfway