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Lilly projects 2008 profits up 14 per cent on 2007

Eli Lilly projects that its 2008 profit could rise by 14 per cent on 2007 levels due to higher sales of drugs for depression, diabetes and erectile dysfunction

US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has said its 2008 profit could rise by 14 per cent on 2007 levels due to higher sales of drugs for depression, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

In a 6 December press release, the company says that seven of its products will generate at least USD 1bn in sales each in 2008. The products include the companyís top-selling antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine) and the newer antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine).

Lilly added that it will launch six new drugs between 2008 and 2011: prasugrel, an investigational clot-busting agent to prevent recurring heart attacks and strokes. Lilly reiterated plans to file for FDA approval by the end of 2007 and launch in mid-2008, if all goes to plan. Lilly will submit prasugrel to EU regulators in Q1 2008. Other potential drug launches in coming years include Air inhaled insulin and arzoxifene for osteoporosis.

Excluding acquisition and other charges, Lilly predicts FY07 earnings of between USD 3.50 to USD 3.55 a share, which matches the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial of USD 3.53 a share.

For FY08, Lilly predicts earnings of between USD 3.85 to USD 4 a share, above the Thomson Financial average estimate of USD 3.81 a share. The company expects strong FY08 sales growth for Cymbalta, Cialis (tadalafil) for erectile dysfunction, the cancer drug Alimta (pemtrexed) and the diabetes drugs Byetta (exenatide) and Humalog (insulin lispro). Lilly expects Cymbalta to overtake Zyprexa as its best-selling US product in 2008.

If approved, prasugrel would compete with Bristol-Myers Squibb and sanofi-aventisí blockbuster platelet anti-aggregant Plavix (clopidogrel) and sanofi-aventis. Lilly's partner for prasugrel is Japan-headquartered Daiichi-Sankyo.

6th December 2007

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