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Eli Lilly Misses Earnings Forecast, Lowers Full-Year Profit Guidance

Higher R&D costs and slowing sales growth for its blockbuster drug, Trulicity, hit both the top and bottom lines in Eli Lilly's first quarter earnings.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report posted weaker-than-expected first quarter earnings Tuesday, and lowered its full-year profit guidance, as elevated research and development costs hit the drugmaker's bottom line.

Eli Lilly said adjusted profits for the three months ending in March were pegged at $1.87 per share, a 7% increase from the same period last year but well shy of the Street consensus forecast of $2.14. Group revenues, Eli Lilly said, rose 16% from last year to $6.805 billion, again missing analysts' forecasts of a $7.03 billion tally.

Looking into the 2021 financial year, Eli Lilly said it sees reported earnings in the region of $7.03 to $7.23 per share, down from its February forecast of $7.10 to $7.75, will revenues in the region of $26.6 billion to $27.6 billion.

"In the first quarter of 2021, Lilly continued to advance our core business and make strategic progress to drive future growth, all while delivering hundreds of thousands of doses of our COVID-19 antibodies to patients and receiving new data for our monoclonal antibody therapies and new authorizations around the world to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic," said CEO David Ricks

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"Our key growth products gained volume and share, helped millions of patients with significant diseases, and represented over half of our core business," he added. "We also had a remarkable quarter in R&D beyond our COVID-19 efforts, reading out key late-stage successes with mirikizumab in ulcerative colitis, donanemab in Alzheimer's, tirzepatide in diabetes, and baricitinib in alopecia areata, while early-stage research continued to deliver and advance exciting clinical-stage molecules across our core therapeutic areas."  

Eli Lilly shares were marked 4.12% lower in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $179.50 each.