Lilly profit soars 40% in first quarter

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Eli Lilly and Co. posted profit of $1.9 billion in the first quarter, up 40%, on higher sales of COVID-19 antibodies and other key products for diabetes, cancer and arthritis.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said Thursday morning that revenue for the quarter was $7.8 billion, up 15% from a year ago.

The company posted earnings per share of $2.62, handily beating beat Wall Street estimates. The consensus of analysts was $2.32 a share, according to Zack’s. On a non-debt basis, profits were $2.37 billion, up 62%.

“Lilly delivered another quarter of volume-driven revenue growth led by key products and anticipates 2022 to be an exciting year with several potential approvals and new pipeline events,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chair and CEO.

Lilly shares climbed about 2%, to $290.17, in pre-market trading.

For full-year 2022, the company cut its adjusted EPS guidance range to $8.15 to $8.30 from $8.50 to $8.65, but raised its revenue guidance to a range of $28.8 billion to $29.3 billion, from $27.8 billion to $28.3 billion.

Lilly attributed its higher revenue to brisk sales of certain products, including COVID-19 antibodies (up 81%), breast cancer medicine Verzenio (up 74%), diabetes medicines Jardiance (up 34% ) and Trulicity (up 20%) and arthritis medicine Olumiant (up 32%).

Lilly said it supplied 600,000 doses of COVID-19 antibody bebtelovimab to the U.S. government in the first quarter. In February, the U.S. government authorized the drug for people aged 12 and older at risk of severe illness from the virus.

Older products saw sales fall off, including cancer medicine Alimta (down 38%), osteoporosis medicine Forteo (down 31%) and diabetes medicine Humalog (flat).

Marketing, selling and administrative expenses decreased 1% to $1.56 billion in the quarter. Research and development expenses decreased 4% to $1.6 billion, largely driven by lower development expenses for COVID-19 antibodies.

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