Updated from 9:37 a.m. EDTEli Lilly ( LLY) Monday reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street estimates by a healthy margin and offered in-line forward guidance. Excluding one-time charges, Lilly earned $762.7 million, or 70 cents a share, for the three months ended March 31. The EPS consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was 66 cents. Earnings and EPS gained 15% over the same period last year. Revenue advanced 17% to $3.38 billion. The Wall Street consensus was $3.23 billion. When one-time charges are included, Lilly earned $400.4 million, a decline of 2% from the same period last year. Earnings per share were 37 cents, down 1 cent from the first quarter of 2003. The major charge in the first quarter was for $362.3 million related to the acquisition of Applied Molecular Evolution. Indianapolis-based Lilly also confirmed its full-year 2004 forecast of $2.80 to $2.85 a share and offered guidance for the second quarter of 67 cents to 69 cents a share. The Wall Street consensus estimates are 68 cents and $2.83 a share, respectively. Lilly said it continues to expect "low double-digit" sales growth for the full year. The full-year guidance excludes the charge for the Applied Molecular Evolution purchase. "First-quarter 2004 trounces skeptics," said the headline of a Monday research note from David R. Risinger, of Merrill Lynch, who maintained his buy recommendation on the stock. "Product revenue was in-line or above forecast for virtually all of the company's products," Risinger said. (He doesn't own shares; his firm is a market maker for Lilly's stock and has had an investment banking relationship in the last 12 months.) Lilly was paced by its Zyprexa-Symbyax franchise, whose sales gained 18% to $1.13 billion during the first quarter. Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic, is the company's best-selling drug. Symbyax is a combination of Zyprexa and the Lilly antidepressant Prozac for the treatment of bipolar depression.