July 30, 2019 / 12:48 PM / 4 months ago

Eli Lilly tops profit estimates on boost from diabetes drugs

(Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, as higher sales of diabetes drugs Trulicity and Basaglar offset competition for its erectile dysfunction treatment, Cialis.

FILE PHOTO: The logo and ticker for Eli Lilly and Co. are displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The drugmaker has been working to retain its dominant position in the diabetes market, as its top-sellers, including insulin injection Humalog, lose market share to rivals, amid political scrutiny over soaring healthcare costs.

Lilly is also banking on its newer treatments such as Emgality, which won U.S. approval to treat migraine last year and has been touted as a growth driver for Lilly.

Emgality brought in sales of $34.3 million in the three months ended June 30, missing analysts’ estimate of $42.3 million for a second straight quarter.

Sales of Trulicity rose about 32% to $1.03 billion in the second quarter, just above the average analyst estimate of $1.02 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. The drug accounted for nearly a fifth of Lilly’s total sales.

In contrast, revenue from Humalog, which included the cut-price version of the drug, fell 12% to $677.6 million.

Lilly in March agreed to offer a half-priced version of Humalog after coming under intense pressure from U.S. politicians to lower drug costs.

The company raised its 2019 adjusted earnings forecast to a range of $5.67 to $5.77 per share from its prior range of $5.60 to $5.70 per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of $5.66 per share.

However, revenue from the United States was nearly flat at $3.25 billion, mainly due to lower prices even as volumes rose.

Total revenue rose to $5.64 billion from $5.59 billion, above estimates of $5.59 billion.

Lilly had warned in April that its revenue growth will be hit by its programs that allow new patients to try new drugs at little or no cost.

The drugmaker posted net income of $1.33 billion, or $1.44 per share, in the latest quarter.

Excluding items, Lilly earned $1.50 per share. Analysts were expecting a profit of $1.45 per share.

Separately, the company released late-stage study results, which showed that Lilly’s combination therapy that includes its cancer treatment, Verzenio, helped women with certain types of advanced breast cancer live longer.

Verzenio competes with Novartis AG’s Kisqali and Pfizer Inc’s Ibrance. The therapy brought in slightly better-than-expected sales of $133.9 million during the quarter.

Shares of the company rose 1% to $109.75 in trading before the bell.

Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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