Lilly 2013 profit forecast tops expectations

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm •  Published: January 4, 2013
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Lilly also expects to counter the patent expirations by developing new drugs, and the company said Friday it has 13 experimental drugs in late-stage testing, the last phase before a company seeks regulatory approval.

Lilly reiterated on Friday that it expects at least $3 billion in net income and revenue of at least $20 billion through 2014. It also expects to keep paying its dividend and to buy back $1.5 billion in shares this year.

Zyprexa once brought in more than $5 billion in annual revenue for Lilly, but its sales sank 66 percent through the first nine months of 2012 after generic competition entered the market. The company expects revenue from Cymbalta, which topped $4 billion in 2011, to start falling in this year's fourth quarter.

Humalog, Lilly's best-selling insulin, brought in about $1.4 billion in U.S. revenue in 2011. That product may take less of a sales hit after it loses U.S. patent protection in May because it's a biologic drug made from living cells instead of a chemical formula. Those are harder for generic drugmakers to replicate.

Lilly should not expect to replace blockbuster drug revenue with another round of blockbusters, said WBB Securities analyst Steve Brozak. He said the company's success will depend on a combination of drug development, partnerships with other companies and acquisitions that help stoke its product pipeline.

But that approach will be difficult because other drugmakers also are facing patent expirations and will be competing with Lilly on those deals.

"If (Lilly executives) think that business as usual applies, their shareholders are going to vote with their sell orders," he said.

The company reports fourth-quarter and 2012 results Jan. 29.