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Lilly revenues down as generics erode Zyprexa sales

Sales of antipsychotic drug fall 68 per cent during third quarter

Lilly headquarters

Eli Lilly had another difficult quarter in the wake of patent expiries on antipsychotic drug Zyprexa, with revenues down 11 per cent to $5.4bn.

Net income came in at $789m, flattered by a $1.26bn payment from former partner Amylin following its acquisition by Bristol-Myers Squibb, and reversing a loss of $83m in the third quarter of 2011.

Zyprexa (olanzapine) continued the decline seen in earlier quarters with a 68 per cent drop in revenues to $375m, while sales of its insulin products were disappointing with Humalog (insulin lispro) down 3 per cent to $576m and Humulin (human insulin) sliding 5 per cent to $285m.

On the plus side, there were gains for antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine), up 16 per cent to $1.24bn, although this too will face generic competition in 2013. Meanwhile, Forteo (teriparatide) for osteoporosis rose 20 per cent to $289m and blood thinner Effient (prasugrel) climbed 31 per cent to reach $110m in the quarter.

Cancer drug Alimta (pemetrexed) put in a lacklustre quarter - managing a net 2 per cent gain to $644m thanks to price increases and despite declining volumes outside the US.

Lilly is hoping for return to form after securing FDA approval for the drug's use in the maintenance setting for advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer a few weeks ago, but suffered a setback when it failed in a combination therapy trial for NSCLC.

Lilly chief executive John Lechleiter said the results were "solid" given the expected impact from Zyprexa's patent expiry, adding that the quarter was "an eventful one for Lilly, as we gained a better understanding of several potential new medicines in our clinical pipeline".

He reaffirmed the company's commitment to its innovation-based strategy, although the comments come after a run of negative pipeline announcements involving drugs that were intended to help the company recover after falling over its patent cliff.

Lilly dropped schizophrenia candidate pomaglumetad methionil in August after a safety issue emerged during phase III trials, while prospects for Alzheimer's candidate solanezumab were diminished after it missed efficacy endpoints in pivotal studies.

In addition, a trial comparing Effient to clopidogrel found Lilly's drug was no better than its generically-available rival in reducing cardiovascular events among patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Lilly is now banking on ramucirumab for gastric cancer and diabetes candidate dulaglutide - both of which cleared phase III studies in recent months - to usher in a new growth phase.

25th October 2012

From: Sales

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