Friday, January 30, 2009

Eli Lilly, Reporting a Loss, Cites Imclone Acquisition

Eli Lilly reported flat fourth-quarter sales Thursday and said earnings fell on charges related to its acquisition late last year of ImClone Systems, the biotechnology company.

The company posted a loss of $3.63 billion, or $3.31 a share, in contrast to a profit of $854.4 million, or 78 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items like the $4.73 billion charge related to its acquisition of ImClone, Lilly earned $1.07 a share, slightly better than the $1.05 expected by analysts.

Global sales of $5.21 billion were little changed from a year earlier and were below analysts’ average forecast of $5.39 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. Sales would have risen 3 percent if not for the stronger dollar, which lowers the value of overseas sales.

Sales of the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa, the company’s biggest product, fell 10 percent, to $1.15 billion on continuing lower demand in the United States. Sales also declined overseas, where the product previously had shown strength.

Zyprexa has been hurt by generic competition in Germany and Canada and concerns that the pill causes weight gains that can increase the risk of diabetes.

The drug is expected to face generic competition in the United States in October 2011.

Lilly hopes an experimental blood clot preventer called prasugrel will soon by approved by the Food and Drug Administration and produce blockbuster sales that can help offset expected plunging sales of Zyprexa.

A federal advisory panel of doctors will review prasugrel, which has decreased the risk of blood clots in clinical trials but raised the risk of dangerous bleeding, next week. The agency has delayed a decision on the medicine twice.

Fourth-quarter sales of Cymbalta, a depression drug, rose 15 percent, to $721 million, and sales of a cancer drug, Alimta, rose 31 percent, to $319 million.

Shares of Lilly, which is based in Indianapolis, fell $1.12, to $37.97.
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