Why Eli Lilly’s Big Earnings Beat, Rosy Guidance Were Not Enough

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When Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) released its most recent quarterly earnings report before the markets opened on Tuesday, the company said that it had $1.34 in earnings per share (EPS) on $5.7 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates had called for $1.14 in EPS on revenue of $5.49 billion. In the same period of last year, the drugmaker said it had EPS of $0.98 and $5.23 billion in revenue.

In terms of the firm’s established pharma product portfolio, Eli Lilly reported its quarterly numbers as follows:

  • Humalog sales increased 12% year over year to $791.7 million.
  • Alimta sales increased 2% to $499.6 million.
  • Cialis sales fell 7% to $495.4 million.
  • Humulin sales increased 4% to $325.9 million.
  • Forteo sales dropped 10% to $313.2 million.
  • Cymbalta sales fell 3% to $169.6 million.
  • Erbitux sales fell 3% to $149.6 million
  • Trajenta sales increased 25% to $141.1 million.
  • Strattera sales decreased 33% to $130.7 million.
  • Zyprexa sales decreased 17% to $122.6 million.

Looking ahead, the firm expects to see full-year earnings in the range of $5.10 to $5.20 per share, with revenue between $23.7 billion and $24.2 billion. The consensus estimates call for $4.88 in EPS on $23.38 billion in revenue.

One of the highlights from the report was that the FDA Advisory Committee recommended the approval of baricitinib at the 2-mg dose level. However, the committee did not recommend the 4-mg dose level, for the treatment of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis.

Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for clinical and product development and incoming president of Lilly Research Labs, commented:

While we are pleased that yesterday’s FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee supported the efficacy of both the 2-mg and 4-mg doses of baricitinib, and recommended overall support for 2-mg, we are disappointed that the committee did not recommend approval of the 4-mg dose. We are confident in the benefit-risk profile of both baricitinib 2-mg and 4-mg for the treatment of patients living with rheumatoid arthritis, supported by the clinical data generated to-date, and by the more than 40 countries in which both doses are approved. We’ll continue to work with the FDA on this important application.

Shares of Eli Lilly were last seen trading down fractionally at $79.97, with a consensus analyst price target of $90.80 and a 52-week range of $73.69 to $89.09.

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