Health and Science

Eli Lilly CEO: Big Mergers Aren't The Right Approach


Eli Lilly Chief Executive John Lechleiter said a big merger with another pharmaceutical company like the one announced earlier this week between Pfizer and Wyeth isn't necessarily the right approach for his company.

Instead of a "big combination approach," Lilly will focus on continuing to make investments and innovate, Lechleiter said, in an interview with CNBC following the release of its latest earnings.

Earlier, Lilly swung to a loss in the fourth quarter on charges from buying cancer-drug maker ImClone Systems.

The company recently faced the biggest ever corporate criminal fine in U.S. history for the misrepresentation of the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa, costing them $1.4 billion. However Lechleiter says that he is pleased with the company's quarterly and yearly earnings.

According to Lechleiter, the company has 60 molecules that are currently in various stages of clinical development. This is twice the number of projects they had two years ago, he said.

Lilly will meet with the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee on Tuesday to discuss their newest development, blood thinner Prasugrel, which is predicted to be a key product in coming years. The late-stage development drug, which received a positive opinion from a scientific review body in Europe in late December, is waiting to receive a product license later this quarter. The drug can be used to treat patients with acute coronary syndrome who are susceptible to blood clots.