Eli Lilly's Trulicity Benefits From Growth of Diabetes Drugs

A healthy market for certain Type-2 diabetes treatments has been good to Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY) .

Senior vice president Enrique Conterno said Tuesday, May 22, that the company's Trulicity drug is benefiting from the growth of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

"We are benefiting from very significant growth of the GLP-1 class," said Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes and Lilly USA, at the UBS Global Healthcare Conference in New York. "And in fact, as we see additional competitors, they are further fueling the growth of the class."

A recent addition to the GLP-1 space is Novo Nordisk A/S's (NVO) Ozempic (semaglutide), which received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December and launched in February.

"Since semaglutide was launched, we basically have seen an acceleration of [annual prescription growth in] the GLP-1 class from maybe the low, mid-20s to the mid- to high 20s," Conterno said. "That's very healthy for a class that is already much larger and growing very fast."

Trulicity, which launched in the U.S. in 2014, generated sales of $678.3 million worldwide in the first quarter of 2018, up 82% from the same period a year ago.

Other GLP-1 drugs include Novo Nordisk's Victoza and Sanofi SA's (SNY) Adlyxin.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly on Tuesday closed up 0.5% at $82.22, with shares up an additional 0.3% to $82.43 on Wednesday afternoon. The stock remains down 2.4% year-to-date and is up 5.7% over the past 12 months.

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