US drugmaker Eli Lilly saw its third-quarter 2005 results beat Wall Street estimates as sales of newer drugs helped to buffer falling demand for its flagship schizophrenia drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) in the USA and the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder therapy Strattera (atomoxetine).

Net income for the three months climbed 5% to $794.4 million, or 6% to $0.73 a share, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.71 per share.

Earnings were driven by strong sales of $3.6 billion, marking a 10% rise over the year-ago period. Revenues were given a lift by the firm’s newer products – Alimta (pemetrexed), Cialis (tadalafil), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Forteo (teriparatide), Strattera, Symbyax (fluoxetine plus olanzapine), Xigris (drotrecogin alfa activated) and Yentreve (duloxetine) – which collectively raked in $651.6 million, representing 18% of total sales compared to 12% for the third quarter of 2004.

However, warning bells were sounding over the continued decline in US turnover of Lilly’s number one seller Zyprexa, which accounted for a substantial 29% of third-quarter revenues. Sales in the USA dipped 10%, but this was buoyed by a 14% rise in overseas turnover, bringing total sales up 1% to $1.04 billion. Zyprexa’s performance took a downturn in the previous quarter, after a 21% drop in US sales dragged total revenues down 10% [[22/07/05b]], which could mean that the drug’s annual sales dip slightly as a result.

The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Strattera saw a disappointing quarter, with sales down 14% at $140.9 million as demand for the agent, which represents the only nonstimulant in the ADHD market, continues to suffer from the safety warnings about potential liver problems that were added to its label earlier this year [[04/02/05a]].

On the up side, products that performed well included: the antidepressant Cymbalta, which grew 13% to $182.8 million: the lung cancer therapy Alimta, up 10% to $122.3 million; the osteoporosis treatment Forteo, which rocketed 77% to $102.6 million; and impotence agent Cialis, leaping 27% to $195.1 million.

The strong performance of Cialis helped Lilly ICOS, a joint venture between Lilly and ICOS set up to market the agent, achieve its first quarterly profit since its birth, with net income of $19.8 million compared to a net loss of $21.4 million for the year-ago period.

Based on its sound results for the period, Lilly has maintained its maintained its full-year earnings outlook of $2.80-$2.86 a share, excluding a large product liability charge taken in the second quarter and based on fourth-quarter income of $0.73-$0.79 a share, falling in line with Wall Street estimates.