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Lilly hit hard by Zyprexa patent loss but raises 2012 financial forecast

Decline in net profits not as large as expected

Eli Lilly HQ

Eli Lilly reported a decline in global revenues of 10 per cent during the second quarter of 2012, due primarily to generic competition for its huge-selling antipsychotics Zyprexa (olanzapine).

Despite this, the US pharma company raised its financial outlook for the year as net profits came in higher than Wall Street expectations, due in part to a decline in expected marketing, selling and administrative expenses related to ongoing 'productivity efforts' and the success of newly launched products.

Lilly now expects s full-year 2012 earnings per share to be in the range of $3.29 to $3.39, an increase from the previous earnings per share guidance range of $3.14 to $3.29.

The company's chair, president and CEO John Lechleiter commented: "Our strong underlying sales performance, combined with the favourable impact from a stronger dollar on our cost of goods sold, supports our decision to raise our 2012 EPS guidance.

“Even as we focus on growth opportunities, we also remain committed to reducing our expense base through productivity gains and cost cutting initiatives, and to advancing our pipeline of potential new medicines in development."

The optimism contrasted with a tough quarter for the company as Zyprexa sales fell 73 per cent from $1.4bn to $379m after the drug lost patent protection.

This led net revenues to decline from $6.25bn to $5.60bn year-on-year during the quarter.

Net income also dropped sharply, falling 30 per cent from $1.35bn during the second quarter of 2011 to $923m during the same period in 2012.

This figure was impacted by a charge of $132.3m related to severance costs following job cuts.

New products, however, performed well for the company, with depression treatment Cymbalta (suloxetine) reporting an increase in revenues of 22 per cent, which is due to replace Zyprexa as Lilly's top-selling drug.

Revenues were also up for Alimta (pemetrexed), Humalog (insulin lispro) and Forteo (teriparatide).

27th July 2012

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