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Eli Lilly Misses Q3 Profit Forecast As Trulicity Sales Slow, COVID R&D Spend Rises

Sales of Trulicity, Eli Lilly's blockbuster diabetes treatment, grew 9% from last year to just over $1 billion, but the pace slowed notably from the three months ending in June.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company Report posted weaker-than-expected third quarter earnings Tuesday, and lowered a portion of its full-year profit guidance, as sales of its blockbuster diabetes treatment, Trulicity, slowed and costs linked to its coronavirus treatment reached jumped.

Eli Lilly said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in September were pegged at $1.54 per share, up 4% from the same period last year but well shy of the Street consensus forecast of $1.71 per share. Group revenues, the company said, rose 4.7% to $5.741 billion, a figure that also missed analysts' estimates of a $5.88 billion tally.

Looking into the final months of the year, Eli Lilly said its sees 2020 revenues of between $23.7 billion to $24.2 billion, matching its prior forecast, and reported earnings would be lowered to a range of $6.20 to $6.40 per share.

"Lilly delivered solid financial results in the third quarter, as our key growth products continued to be the catalyst for volume-based revenue growth. Despite ongoing healthcare disruptions from the global pandemic, we remain confident in the strength of our underlying business and continue to manage our operations to deliver success over the long term," said CEO David Ricks. "At the same time, I am incredibly proud of the commitment and progress Lilly has made in the fight against COVID-19."

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"In the third quarter, Lilly incurred expenses of $125 million to develop and rapidly advance potential new therapies from our labs to clinical testing, with the hope of soon offering a new treatment option for patients most at risk from the virus," Ricks added.  

Eli Lilly shares were marked 5.15% lower in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $134.40 each.

Eli Lilly said also said sales of its blockbuster diabetes treatment, Trulicity, rose 9% from last year to $1.107 billion, but that rate was down from the 20% growth reported over the three months ending in June.

Costs linked to research and development of its coronavirus treatment are likely to rise to around $400 million for the full year, the company said, after earlier noting that it will cancel its paused trial of hospitalized patients in the United States.