Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated
"Our key growth products gained volume and share…and represented over half of our core business," remarked CEO David Ricks, while also highlighting a "remarkable" R&D quarter with key readouts for mirikizumab in ulcerative colitis, donanemab in Alzheimer's disease, tirzepatide in diabetes, and baricitinib in alopecia areata.
Ricks noted that Eli Lilly delivered "hundreds of thousands" of doses of its COVID-19 antibodies to patients. The company took steps to transition to supply bamlanivimab and etesevimab for administration together, rather than bamlanivimab as a standalone treatment, which saw its FDA emergency-use authorisation revoked earlier this month on concerns that new SARS-CoV-2 variants could be resistant to it.
Eli Lilly noted that its first-quarter revenue grew at a more modest 7% if it excludes the $810.1 million (forecasts of $985 million) it generated from COVID-19 antibodies, as well as the roughly $250 million it recorded in early 2020 as the start of the pandemic drove up customer buying patterns and prescription trends.
Eli Lilly now expects revenue for 2021 to be between $26.6 billion and $27.6 billion, narrowed from a prior range of $26.5 billion to $28 billion. The company explained that the revision reflects lower-than-expected sales of COVID-19 therapies due to decreased demand, with annual revenue from these products forecast to be between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, with the top end cut from $2 billion projected previously. "COVID-19 therapies are reducing in their need as the virus is being arrested by vaccines in the US," noted Ricks.
Earnings per share are seen in the range of $7.80 to $8.00, narrowed from an earlier prediction of between $7.75 and $8.40. Analysts, meanwhile, are projecting adjusted profit of $8.25 per share on $27.7 billion in sales this year.
Mizuho Securities analyst Vamil Divan remarked "we assumed lower sales of COVID-19 antibodies would impact the quarter and guidance...but the extent of the miss, especially for important products such as Taltz and Verzenio, is surprising to us." Meanwhile, Ashtyn Evans of Edward Jones said "this was a disappointing quarter for Lilly compared with expectations," adding that "much of the lowered guidance was due to COVID-19 impacts."
Eli Lilly said that while the OASIS programme generated positive results for mirikizumab with safety and efficacy similar to other IL-23p19s, the company no longer plans to submit the drug for regulatory approval in psoriasis in any geography, focusing instead on the ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease indications.
It is also scrapping further development on a CD73 inhibitor that was in Phase I testing for cancer, as well as an early-stage ANGPTL3/8 monoclonal antibody being evaluated as a potential treatment for cardiovascular disease.
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