Lilly Tops Estimates, Boosts Guidance

Drug maker Eli Lilly reported first-quarter earnings and sales ahead of market expectations Monday and also boosted guidance for the year, thanks to strong sales of drugs for schizophrenia and depression.

For the first three months of the year, Lilly said it earned $913.3 million, or 84 cents a share, excluding charges related to its acquisition of Icos, up from $835 million, or 77 cents per share in the year-ago period.

Sales rose 14% from the same quarter a year ago to $4.23 billion. Sales of schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa gained 10% to $1.1 billion and sales of depression drug Cymbalta jumped 89% to $441 million.

“We continue to be very bullish about Zyprexa,” John Lechleiter Eli Lilly’s President and Chief Operating Officer, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “We saw 6% sales growth in the U.S. this quarter. We had 14% sales growth internationally.”

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial predicted a profit of 79 cents a share on revenues of $4.12 billion.

For 2007, Lilly now predicts sales to rise in the low double digits, compared with previous guidance of the high single digits to low double digits. Profit is expected to be $3.30 to $3.40 a share, higher than earlier guidance of $3.25 to $3.35 a share.