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Strong end of year for Lilly

Eli Lilly & Co managed to pip investor expectations for the quarter, reporting an end of year hike in sales of 22 per cent, to USD5.19bn, one-third of which the company said was generated by sales of nine key products. These were treatments for a wealth of therapy areas, including cancer, diabetes, neuropsychiatric, osteoporsis and erectile dysfunction. Altogether, this group grew in revenue by 55 per cent, the Indianapolis-based company announced.

Eli Lilly & Co managed to pip investor expectations for the quarter, reporting an end of year hike in sales of 22 per cent, to USD5.19bn, one-third of which the company said was generated by sales of nine key products. These were treatments for a wealth of therapy areas, including cancer, diabetes, neuropsychiatric, osteoporsis and erectile dysfunction. Altogether, this group grew in revenue by 55 per cent, the Indianapolis-based company announced.

Sales of Alimta, a treatment for asbestos-related lung cancer as well as non-small cell lung cancer, shot up by 42 per cent, to USD244m, while sales of Zyprexa rose by 10 per cent. In part, this indicated a return to form for the schizophrenia product, following concerns in the past that it could result in diabetes-worsening weight gain in some patients.

Lilly's total net income for the quarter was reported to be USD854.4m, producing earnings per share of 78 cents. This is a remarkable improvement over the same period in 2006, when net income was USD132.3, and earnings per share were just 12 cents. The current weak dollar also had a positive effect on the value of overseas sales.

Quarter highlights

Earlier in January, the company gained Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its once-daily dose of Cialis, for erectile dysfunction, while in December with its partner Daiichi Sankyo it submitted a marketing application for a novel platelet inhibitor, prasugrel (to be branded Effient) based on a positive phase III head-to-head trial with clopidogrel (Plavix) made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and sanofi-aventis. 

During Q4 07, Lilly also acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to BioMS Medical's lead multiple sclerosis (MS) compound, currently being trialled in phase III for secondary progressive disease and phase II for relapsing-remitting MS. 

CEO Sidney Taurel, who plans to stand down March 31 2008 (to be succeeded by John Lechleiter, currently president and COO), highlighted the company's returns for its shareholders over the year, which include seven new candidates entering clinical trials plus "the execution of several strategic in-licensing transactions".

He added: "Our additional investment in sales and marketing helped fuel accelerated double digit sales growth this quarter, which was once again mainly driven by volume."

30th September 2008

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