Eli Lilly and Co. said Wednesday that its first quarter profit fell 4 percent, as generic competition cut into sales of its all-time best-seller, the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.
The performance still topped Wall Street expectations and the drugmaker raised its 2012 earnings forecast. Its shares edged up in premarket trading.
The Indianapolis company lost U.S. patent protection for Zyprexa last October, and sales of the drug plummeted 56 percent to $562.7 million in the quarter that ended March 31. Lilly still has patent protection for the drug in Japan. However, it expects Zyprexa sales, which topped $5 billion in 2010, to fall by more than $3 billion this year.
Sales of other drugs like the antidepressant Cymbalta climbed in the first quarter to help replace some of that loss. Cymbalta topped Lilly sales by bringing in $1.11 billion, a 23 percent increase over last year's first quarter due in part to higher U.S. demand and prices.
Overall, Lilly reported net income of $1.01 billion, or 91 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, up from $1.06 billion, or 95 cents per share, in the first three months of 2011. Adjusted earnings were 92 cents per share. That was well above analysts' expectations for earnings of 79 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $5.6 billion from $5.8 billion a year ago. Analysts expected $5.38 billion in revenue.
Sales of the osteoporosis treatment Forteo climbed 26 percent in the quarter to $271.3 million, and sales from the company's animal health business increased 33 percent to $490.7 million.
The company's income taxes also rose 49 percent in the quarter to $324.2 million.
In addition to Zyprexa, Lilly will lose patent protection for Cymbalta and for its top-selling insulin, Humalog, next year. The company has cut costs and said it will depend on its pipeline of drugs under development, the animal health business, and sales in Japan and emerging foreign markets like China to get through the revenue slump.
For 2012, Lilly now expects adjusted earnings to range between $3.15 and $3.30 per share. That's up from its previous forecast for earnings of $3.10 to $3.20 per share.
Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $3.20 per share.
Its shares rose 29 cents to $40.25 in premarket trading.
Lilly is the world's 11th largest drugmaker by annual revenue, according to the latest ranking from drug data firm IMS Health.