In this market, more than a few investors have probably had to start blood pressure medication, but Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) might have a cure for that; it's treating high blood pressure with a pill -- and by raising its share price.

Yesterday, Gilead announced that its blood pressure drug candidate, darusentan, passed its phase 3 trial. The drug was able to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure better than placebo after 14 weeks of treatment in patients who haven't been able to reduce their blood pressure with other medications like AstraZeneca's (NYSE:AZN) Zestril, Merck's (NYSE:MRK) Cozaar, or Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) Norvasc. More important than the absolute reductions in blood pressure -- this isn't a how-low-can-you-go limbo -- more than half of the patients taking the drug were able to reach their blood pressure goal, compared to about a quarter of patients on placebo.

Darusentan will have to prove successful in one more clinical trial, expected to be completed by the end of the year, before Gilead can apply to the Food and Drug Administration to get it on the market. But the strong results from this trial should help lower investors' anxiety slightly.

The HIV specialist has branched out into other treatment areas like cystic fibrosis treatments and heart drugs. Darusentan will complement its pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) drug Letairis and angina treatment, Ranexa, which the company will get its hands on when it completes its acquisition of CV Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CVTX).

It was a bit of a gamble, but Gilead has become a cash-generating machine and it really only had two choices: start to issue a dividend or expand into other treatment areas. Considering how successful the company has been in the past -- it has averaged a 32% return annually over the past 10 years -- investors should be glad the company is choosing to reinvest the cash in itself rather than paying it out as a dividend.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Pfizer is an Inside Value selection. The Fool has a disclosure policy.