Eli Lilly Chief Sets Record Straight

Shares of Eli Lilly are off about 6% over the past month – down much more than the overall healthcare sector. Why can’t Lilly get any love?

One of the biggest issues facing Lilly and all of Big Pharma for that matter is patent expiration.

According to JP Morgan analyst Chris Schott, investors are focused on whether enough new Lilly drugs will be approved in the next few years to offset looming generic competition for Zyprexa, Cymbalta, osteoporosis drug Evista and cancer treatment Gemzar.

"We continue to believe Lilly's pipeline remains too early-stage to convince us of its ability to meaningfully offset the loss of core franchises," Schott said.

And then there's the issue of M&A. As you may know billionaire investor Carl Icahn is agitating for Amylin to sell itself to Lilly. Of course Icahn would likely be looking for a premium.

So, what’s Lilly got going that might boost shares? For insights we turned to Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter.

Lechleiter tells Fast Money he’s excited about once-a-week Byetta, the firm's latest diabetes treatment. “Now our goal is to prosecute that and get it through for the patients,” he says.

And he’s well aware that Lilly must improve its pipeline. “We’ve got 60 molecules in some stage of development," he says. "It’s probably the most exciting pipeline in Lilly’s history. But the goal is to get (some drugs) across the finish line ahead of the patent expirations.

In terms of Amylin, Lechleither didn’t say much other than “we like the relationship we’ve got with Amylin.”

What do the Fast Money traders think of Lilly stock at current levels. Find out now! Watch the video above.

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