To be honest, there's nothing not to like about Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD). Granted, that's not the most exciting premise for an article, but since Gilead on Wednesday released another solid quarter of financial growth and progress with its pipeline, there's just not a whole lot to complain about.

Revenue was up 40% for 2007, with sales of HIV drug Atripla (partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY)) up 89% year over year in the fourth quarter. Non-GAAP earnings were $1.81 per share, a 33% increase over 2007. Like I said, there's not much to complain about.

On the pipeline front, last quarter, Gilead announced underwhelming phase 1 data for its hepatitis C antiviral drug candidate GS9190 at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases conference. It has been a tough road for Gilead in the hepatitis C arena. Polymerase inhibitor GS9190 showed mediocre performance, and partner Achillion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACHN) had to go back to the drawing board with its protease inhibitor program earlier in the year.

The clinical trial pathway for Gilead's anti-HIV integrase inhibitor, Elvitegravir, also got harder following the approval of Merck's (NYSE: MRK) rival integrase inhibitor, Isentress, in October. Gilead now plans to test Elvitegravir head-to-head against Isentress in a non-inferiority study. Actually having to match a similar active comparator drug raises the bar for the 48-week study's success.

Looking ahead to 2008, Gilead is going to be getting a lot of FDA regulatory news this year. The PDUFA date for its cystic fibrosis drug is Sept. 16, and a regulatory decision from the FDA on the label expansion for HIV therapy Viread into hepatitis B is also expected in the third quarter. On the financial front, Gilead has guided for product sales to be up 26% to 29% in 2008.

Seeing as Gilead is looking more and more like a diversified pharma with a robust clinical-stage pipeline and growing cash flows, the financial community wouldn't start weeping if the company started to use some of its plentiful free cash flow to fund a dividend. An aggressive $1 billion worth of annual cash could fund a 2.4% dividend yield, for example. Other than that, it's hard not to get excited about Gilead from both a valuation and a performance standpoint.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler likes Gilead, but will not use his fiscal stimulus check to buy shares. He owns no shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has an A+ disclosure policy.