U.S. News

Lilly Beats Second-Quarter Forecasts, Raises 2007 View


Eli Lilly Tuesday posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings helped by surging sales of its prescription drugs, including depression treatment Cymbalta, and the company raised its 2007 profit forecast.

But the Indianapolis drug maker said its net profit fell to $664 million, or 61 cents per share from $822 million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges, including those related to acquisitions of Hypnion and Ivy Animal Health, Lilly earned 90 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 82 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Lilly expects full-year earnings per share, excluding special items, of $3.40 to $3.50 per share, up from its previous forecast of $3.30 to $3.40 per share. It expects sales to grow in the "mid-teens" percentage range.

Global company sales jumped 20% to $4.63 billion, well above the Reuters Estimates forecast of $4.38 billion.

Sales would have risen 14% if not for Lilly's acquisition in January of Icos, which gave Lilly full ownership of the widely used Cialis impotence pill they had marketed together.

Global sales of Cialis jumped 26% to $293 million in the quarter. The drug, which works 48 hours, has wrested sales away from Pfizer's shorter-acting Viagra.

Sales of Cymbalta jumped 67% to $520 million, helped by its new use against generalized anxiety disorder approved by U.S. regulators in February.

The company's biggest product, schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa, rose 9% to $1.21 billion, gaining traction after earlier sales declines prompted by concerns over its tendency to cause weight gains.

Lilly said higher overseas sales of Zyprexa, along with higher U.S. prices, outstripped lower U.S. demand for the medicine.

Gemzar, used to treat lung and pancreatic cancer, grew 15% to $396 million, while lung cancer treatment Alimta jumped 35% to $207 million.

Sales of Strattera, used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, slipped 1% to $142 million, amid concerns that such drugs pose heart risks and cause psychiatric problems, such as hallucinations.