Eli Lilly logo is shown on one of the company’s offices in San Diego, California, U.S., September 17, 2020.
Mike Blake | Reuters
Eli Lilly on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings that topped expectations on the strong launch of its new weight loss drug, Zepbound, and higher prices for its blockbuster diabetes drug, Mounjaro.
Zepbound, which won approval from U.S. regulators in early November, raked in $175.8 million in sales for the fourth quarter.
The quarterly results are the first to include sales of Zepbound, which some analysts say could post more than a billion dollars in sales in its first year on the market and eventually, become the biggest drug of all time.
Shares of Eli Lilly were up 5% in premarket trading Tuesday.
Here’s what Eli Lilly reported for the fourth quarter compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: $2.49 adjusted vs. $2.22 expected
- Revenue: $9.35 billion vs. $8.93 billion expected
Eli Lilly posted net income of $2.19 billion, or $2.42 a share, for the fourth quarter. That compares with a profit of $1.94 billion, or $2.14 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items associated with the value of intangible assets, among other adjustments, the company posted a per-share profit of $2.49 cents for the fourth quarter of 2023.
The pharmaceutical giant booked fourth-quarter revenue of $9.35 billion, up 28% from the same period a year ago.
Higher prices for older drugs, particularly Mounjaro, helped drive up Eli Lilly’s revenue, the company said. Mounjaro booked $2.21 billion in sales for the fourth quarter, up from just $279.2 million in the same period a year ago.
Analysts had expected the drug to bring in $1.73 billion in worldwide sales, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.
That increase reflects increased demand but also « higher realized prices » due to decreased use of Eli Lilly’s savings card programs as access to the drug continued to expand during the quarter, the company said. The savings card programs aim to help lower the out-of-pocket costs for drugs like Mounjaro for patients.
Shares of Eli Lilly jumped almost 60% last year as weight loss drugs skyrocketed in popularity despite hefty price tags, mixed insurance coverage and a handful of unpleasant side effects. With a market cap of roughly $673 billion, Eli Lilly is the largest pharmaceutical company based in the U.S.
Eli Lilly will hold an earnings call with investors at 10:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
Executives will likely be asked about whether the company has made more progress in addressing the supply issues plaguing its weight loss and diabetes drugs.
There may also be questions related to the timing of the FDA’s decision on Eli Lilly’s experimental Alzheimer’s drug, donanemab, which significantly slowed the progression of the memory-robbing disease in patients at the early stages of it.
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