Eli Lilly Smashes Q1 Earnings Forecast as Trulicity Sales Surge; Boosts 2020 Profit Guidance

Trulicity, Eli Lilly's blockbuster diabetes treatment, saw sales rise 40% from last year to a quarterly record of $1.229 billion.

Eli Lilly & Co.  (LLY) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Thursday, and nudged its 2020 profit guidance modestly higher, as sales of its Trulicity diabetes treatment hit $1.3 billion.

Eli Lilly said non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in March were pegged at $1.75 per share, a 31.6% increase from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast.  Group revenues, Lilly said, rose 15% to $5.86 billion, again topping analysts forecasts of a $5.48 billion tally. 

Looking into 2020, Lilly said it sees non-GAAP earnings in the range of $6.70 to $6.90 per share, a 10 cent improvement to the higher end of its prior forecast. Full year revenues were confirmed in the region of $23.6 billion to $24.2 billion, the company said.

"Lilly is rising to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be by supporting our employees, our communities, patients with chronic diseases who are the most vulnerable to the virus, or directly attacking the disease with new and existing therapies," said CEO David Ricks. "Lilly's purpose - to make life better - has never been more important. We're focused on reliably supplying medicines, keeping our employees safe and pushing scientific efforts at top speed to defeat COVID-19." 

"We're also committed to improving the affordability of and access to our medicines, particularly insulin, during these challenging times," he added.  

Eli Lilly shares were marked 1.1% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $158.60 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 20%.

Trulicity, the group's diabetes treatment, saw sales rise 40% from last year to a quarterly record of $1.229 billion, while its severe plaque psoriasis drug Taltz booked a 75% gain from the first quarter of 2019 to $443.5 million.