Eli Lilly's Q4 revenue beats estimates as Cymbalta, Effient sales help offset loss from Zyprexa

Eli Lilly reported Tuesday that fourth-quarter sales fell 1 percent to just under $6 billion, beating analyst estimates of $5.8 billion, as growth from products including Cymbalta and Effient offset a decline in revenue from Zyprexa. Three-monthly sales of the schizophrenia medicine plunged 49 percent versus the year-ago period to $385 million after the product lost patent exclusivity in the US and most major markets outside of Japan.

"Lilly delivered solid financial results in the fourth quarter of 2012, as we successfully offset a large part of the revenue decline from the Zyprexa patent expiration with growth in other products," remarked CEO John Lechleiter. US sales in the quarter decreased 2 percent to $3.2 billion, with revenue outside the country dropping 1 percent to $2.7 billion. The drumgaker noted that net income in the quarter slipped 4 percent versus the same period in 2011 to $827 million.

In the fourth quarter, Eli Lilly said that sales of Cymbalta jumped 20 percent to $1.4 billion, boosted by higher prices in the US and increased demand. Meanwhile, Alimta revenue grew 7 percent to $684 million, with sales of Humalog slipping 7 percent to $616 million. The company noted that US revenue for the diabetes treatment fell 19 percent to $332 million, partly as a result of "lower net effective selling prices."

In addition, the company said that sales of Cialis rose 4 percent to $513 million, while revenue from Forteo jumped 20 percent to $315 million. Sales of the latter product surged 37 percent outside the US to $194 million, mainly due to increased demand in Japan. Further, quarterly sales of Effient climbed 33 percent year-over-year to $121 million, lifted by higher prices in the US and greater demand.

For the full year, overall sales dropped 7 percent to $22.6 billion, beating analyst predictions of $22.4 billion, as revenue from Cymbalta grew 20 percent to $5 billion. Sales of Alimta in 2012 reached $2.6 billion, up 5 percent versus 2011, while revenue from Humalog rose 1 percent to $2.4 billion. Eli Lilly added that Cialis sales in the 12-month period increased 3 percent to $1.9 billion, with revenue from Zyprexa dropping 63 percent to $1.7 billion.

In addition, Sales of Forteo climbed 21 percent to $1.2 billion compared with 2011, while revenue from Effient jumped 51 percent to $457 million. Net income for the year fell 6 percent to $4.1 billion.

For 2013, Eli Lilly revised upwards its guidance to reflect a one-time impact associated with the R&D tax credit in the US, and said it now expects earnings of between $3.82 and $3.97 per share, up from an earlier estimate of $3.75 to $3.90 per share. The company indicated that sales will be in the range of $22.6 billion to $23.4 billion, with growth in Japan and emerging markets, particularly China, as well as from products including Humalog, Humulin, Cialis, Forteo and Cymbalta outside the US.

Lechleiter added that with "13 potential new medicines in Phase III testing... We are well-positioned to deliver on our innovation-based strategy and create long-term value for all of our stakeholders." However, the drugmaker indicated that during the fourth quarter, partner Bristol-Myers Squibb decided to terminate the parties' collaboration on the experimental non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) therapy necitumumab. The companies reported in 2011 that enrolment had been halted in one of two late-stage trials of necitumumab as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC due to safety concerns related to thromboembolism. Eli Lilly noted that it will assume global rights to the drug following Bristol-Myers Squibb's decision.

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