Eli Lilly Pleased With Uptake for Breast Cancer Drug Verzenio, Says Exec

It's been five months since Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) launched breast cancer drug Verzenio (abemaciclib) in the U.S. and the Indianapolis-based drugmaker is "really pleased with the uptake so far," said Sue Mahony, senior vice president and president of Lilly Oncology at the Cowen & Co. healthcare conference in Boston on Tuesday, March 13.

Eli Lilly launched Verzenio in October after clinching approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September for two indications. The agency approved Verzenio in tandem with fulvestrant as a treatment for hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression after endocrine therapy, and a monotherapy for HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer with disease progression after endocrine therapy and prior chemotherapy in the metastatic setting.

Verzenio generated revenue of $21 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

In February of this year, Eli Lilly received regulatory approval for a third indication. The FDA greenlighted Verzenio in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy for postmenopausal women with HR+, HER2- advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Aromatase inhibitors halt the production of estrogen in postmenopausal women, according to breastcancer.org.

"The feedback from physicians is good," Mahony said. "It's strong. Our focus clearly is on making sure that patients and physicians get a good experience as they start using this drug and we are hearing that that is happening."

Shares of Eli Lilly declined by 0.07% to $78.98 in afternoon trading on Tuesday. The stock was down 5.7% year-to-date and down 5.3% over the last 12 months.

Eli Lilly is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells LLY? Learn more now.

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