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Lilly posts loss, but beats expectations

October 23, 2008

Eli Lilly and Co.'s settlement of Zyprexa litigation sent it to a $466 million loss during its third quarter.

But the Indianapolis-based drugmaker exceeded expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Lilly spent nearly $1.5 billion to settle a 32-state probe into its marketing and disclosures about Zyprexa, an antipsychotic that is the company's bestselling drug. It also recorded other special charges related to the sale of its Greenfield Laboratories and its acquisitions of a San Diego biotech firm.

Excluding those charges, Lilly would have earned a profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.04 per share. Analysts were expecting $1.02 per share, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

On that basis, Lilly earnings spiked 14 percent from the same quarter a year ago, when it earned 91 cents per share.

Lilly
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s sales rose 14 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30, reaching $5.2 billion. Sales of cancer drug Alimta grew 46 percent. Sales of the antidepressant Cymbalta grew 40 percent.

Excluding the Zyprexa settlement and other special charges, Lilly now expects its year-end profits to reach $3.97 to $4.02 per share, an increase from its previous forecast of $3.85 to $4.00 per share.

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