Eli Lilly Tops Q3 Earnings Estimate, Lifts 2018 Outlook as Diabetes Sales Rise

Eli Lilly (LLY) posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings Tuesday, and boosted its 2018 profit guidance for the second consecutive time this year as its diabetes drug franchise continues to add to the group's bottom line.

Eli Lilly said earnings for the three months ended in September came in at $1.39 per share, topping the consensus forecast of $1.35 and rising 32.4% from the same period last year. Group revenues, Eli Lilly said, rose 7.1% to $6.06 billion, again beating Street forecasts as sales of its key diabetes drug Trulicity rose more than 55%. Eli Lilly also lifted its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $5.55 to $5.60 per share on a non-GAAP basis, a 10 cent improvement at the higher end, and said further strength from its diabetes portfolio would also support stronger 2018 sales.

"Revenue growth driven by greater use of our newest medicines, coupled with prudent expense management, led to strong EPS growth," said CEO David Ricks. "Our strategy is to focus on discovering and developing breakthrough medicines that can help doctors and patients who need new treatment options for serious diseases."

"We are pleased with our progress this quarter, achieving key development and regulatory milestones in pain and diabetes, while driving continued adoption of our new medicines around the world," he added. "Consistent with our revised guidance, we expect to finish 2018 by further delivering strong performance."

Eli Lilly shares fell 3.8% on Tuesday.

Trulicity, a key type-2 diabetes treatment, had sales of $816.2 million, up 55% from the same period last year and $46.2 million ahead of the second quarter pace. Eli Lilly said yesterday that the drug was found to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiac events in patients with the disease following its key REWIND trials, which it will detail to the American Diabetes Association in June of next year.

The group's erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, however, saw sales fall 17% to $467 million, taking its year-to-date total to $1.5 billion, as it continues to face increased competition from generic rivals such as Teva Pharmaceutical's Sildenafil, which has been available since December 2017.

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