Eli Lilly yesterday reported an impressive 84% hike in first quarter net income to $734 million dollars, versus the corresponding period last year when financials were hit by rising costs [[20/04/04b]], [[24/11/03b]]. Excluding last year’s charges, first quarter profits climbed 10%. However, revenues for the period managed just a 4% increase to $3.5 billion as a number of key drugs reported slowing sales.

Sales of the anti-psychotic, Zyprexa (olanzapine), dropped 5% during the three-month period to just over $1 billion, slumping by 17% in the all-important US market to $517 million as a result of continuing competition and a decrease in underlying demand. Lilly, which celebrated a court victory last week after a US judge upheld the company’s patent on the drug in the face of potential generic competition [[15/04/05a]], says it continues to expect a slight decline in its 2005 worldwide sales for Zyprexa.

The anti-cancer agent, Gemzar (gemcitabine), was up 9% to $305 million during the quarter, and Evista (raloxifene) for postmenopausal osteoporosis climbed 7% to $249 million. Both drugs saw US sales dip by 1% as a result of decreased wholesaler stocking. On the bright side for the firm, Lilly says that its newer products – namely Alimta (pemetrexed) for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma, the erectile dysfunction drug, Cialis (tadalafil), Strattera (atomoxetine) for ADHD, Symbyax (fluoxetine plus olanzapine) for bipolar disorder, the sepsis treatment, Xigris (drotrecogin alfa), the anti-depressant, Cymbalta (duloxetine), the osteoporosis product, Forteo (teriparatide), and the stress urinary incontinence drug, Yentreve (duloxetine) – collectively contributed more than $500 million to its coffers, accounting for 14% of total sales, versus 9% in the first quarter of 2004.

For the second quarter, the firm is eyeing earnings per share of $0.65 to $0.68, which represents 8% to 13% growth compared with the same quarter last year. Investors, however, are expecting the company to report EPS of around $0.69. On a full-year basis, Lilly is looking to EPS in the $2.80 to $2.90 range, which represents 69% to 75% growth compared with the $1.66 reported in 2004 [[27/01/05a]]. Sales for the twelve-month period are forecast to rise by between 8% and 10%.