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(Adds analyst comment in the fourth paragraph)
Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Eli Lilly & Co. reported fourth- quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as higher sales of its depression and diabetes medicines helped to counter a 44 percent plunge in revenue from the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa.
Net income fell 27 percent to $858.2 million, or 77 cents a share, the Indianapolis-based company said today in a statement. Profit excluding certain items beat by 6 cents the average of 17 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Revenue from the antidepressant Cymbalta rose 20 percent and the diabetes treatment Humalog 21 percent, helping offset sales of Zyprexa that the drugmakers said last month was declining faster than expected in the face of generic competition. Lilly has treatments for diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in final-stage trials.
The depression and diabetes drugs “all hung in there pretty well,” said Seamus Fernandez, an analyst at Leerink Swann in New York, by telephone. While margins were just “a little better” than expected, “they basically beat relative to expectations.”
Lilly rose 2.6 percent to $40.26 at 8:03 a.m. in trading before U.S. markets opened after rising less than 1 percent yesterday.
Revenue fell 2 percent to $6.05 billion, higher than the $5.88 billion that analysts had projected, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Zyprexa sales declined 44 percent to $749.6 million, while sales for the antidepressant Cymbalta rose to $1.18 billion and Humalog for diabetes grew to $662 million.
Research and development expenses declined 6 percent. The company reaffirmed its 2012 forecast of $3.10 to $3.20 a share.
Lilly said that two trials of the company’s Alzheimer’s drug solanezumab would continue as planned.
“This quarter doesn’t really matter,” said Fernandez. “The most important thing for Lilly is that the solanezumab trial wasn’t stopped.”
--Editors: Angela Zimm, Reg Gale
Robert Langreth in New York at email@example.com
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