Lilly sales beat estimates, helped by newer drugs

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

Eli Lilly and Co on Tuesday reported better-than-expected quarterly sales, fueled by newer drugs, and predicted average annual revenue growth of at least 5 percent through the end of the decade due to its growing roster of medicines.

The Indianapolis drugmaker, whose earnings growth resumed last year after three years of tumbling sales caused by competition from generic drugs, said investors can count on annual dividend increases in 2016 and beyond.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $5.4 billion in the second quarter, topping Wall Street estimates of $5.15 billion.

Credit-Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said surprisingly strong sales were seen for some older brands, including its Cialis impotence treatment and Forteo osteoporosis drug, which both benefited from higher prices.

Newer drugs that are key to Lilly's turnaround are the main focus of investors, and performed well in the quarter.

Trulicity, an injectable diabetes treatment that competes with Novo Nordisk's blockbuster Victoza, posted sales of $201 million, while sales of two-year-old Cyramza for stomach and lung cancer vaulted 68 percent to $147 million.

Wall Street expects another new drug for type 2 diabetes, Jardiance, to become a $3 billion-a-year product by 2021 because of recent clinical data showing that it slashes the risk of cardiovascular death.

But Jardiance, a so-called SGLT-2 inhibitor that competes with Johnson & Johnson's Invokana, posted a disappointing $40.1 million in quarterly sales as U.S. health regulators weigh whether to include the favorable new clinical data in its label. Once in the label, Lilly could promote the data to doctors and drive sales higher.

In a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, Lilly said it plans to unveil data later this year on solanezumab, its experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease, and could seek U.S. approval within months for a breast cancer drug that could compete with Pfizer Inc's similar Ibrance.

"Lilly is doing an excellent job, coming out of its patent cliff, and is poised to release a lot of new drugs," said Morningstar analyst Damien Conover.

Lilly's net income rose 24.5 percent to $747.7 million, or 71 cents per share, in the quarter.

Excluding special items, including restructuring charges, Lilly earned 86 cents per share, in line with the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lilly reaffirmed it expects full-year earnings of $3.50 to $3.60 per share, excluding special items. That would reflect growth of up to 5 percent over last year.


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