Eli Lilly (LLY) earnings Q4 2023

An injector pen of Zepbound, Eli Lilly's weight loss drug, is on display in New York, the United States, December 11, 2023.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Elie Lilly Tuesday reported Fourth-quarter revenue and adjusted profit exceeded expectations thanks to the strong launch of its new weight-loss drug, Zepbound, and higher prices for its blockbuster diabetes treatment, Mounjaro.

Zepbound, which won approval from U.S. regulators in early November, had fourth-quarter revenue of $175.8 million.

The quarterly results are the first to include sales of Zepbound, which some analysts say could reach more than $1 billion in sales in its first year on the market and eventually become the biggest drug of all the temperature.

Shares of Eli Lilly were up about 5% in premarket trading Tuesday.

Here's what Eli Lilly reported for the fourth trimester compared to what Wall Street expected, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $2.49 adjusted vs. $2.22 expected
  • Income: $9.35 billion versus $8.93 billion expected

Eli Lilly reported fourth-quarter net income of $2.19 billion, or $2.42 per share. That compares to earnings of $1.94 billion, or $2.14 per share, a one year earlier.

Excluding one-time items associated with the value of intangible assets, among other adjustments, the company reported earnings per share of $2.49 for the fourth quarter of 2023.

The pharmaceutical giant reported fourth-quarter revenue of $9.35 billion, up 28% from the same period last year.

Eli Lilly also released its full-year 2024 guidance, which was broadly in line with expectations.

The company expects full-year adjusted earnings in the range of $12.20 to $12.70 per share. Eli Lilly also forecasts 2024 revenue of between $40.4 billion and $41.6 billion.

Analysts polled by LSEG expected full-year adjusted earnings of $12.43 per share and revenue of $39.38 billion.

Eli Lilly shares have soared nearly 60% in the past year as the weight-loss drugs have grown in popularity despite high prices, lukewarm insurance coverage and a handful of unpleasant side effects. With a market capitalization of approximately $673 billion, Eli Lilly is the largest pharmaceutical company based in the United States.

Mounjaro sees higher demand and prices

Higher prices for older drugs, particularly Mounjaro, helped boost Eli Lilly's revenue, the company said. Mounjaro reported fourth-quarter revenue of $2.21 billion, compared to just $279.2 million in the same period last year.

Analysts expected the drug to bring in $1.73 billion in global sales, according to estimates compiled by FactSet.

The increase reflects increased demand but also “higher realized prices” in the United States due to less use of Eli Lilly's savings card programs as access to the drug continued to expand. during the quarter, the company said. Savings card programs aim to help reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs for drugs like Mounjaro.

Revenue growth was also driven by sales of Verzenio, Eli Lilly's breast cancer pill, which increased 42% to $1.15 billion for the quarter due to increased sales. demand and rising prices.

This result, however, is lower than the expectations of analysts, who expected a turnover of 1.18 billion dollars for the period.

Sales of Jardiance, a tablet that lowers blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients, soared 30% to $798.1 million in the fourth quarter. Analysts expected revenue of $771.8 million for Jardiance.

Jardiance, which Eli Lilly shares with Boehringer Ingelheim, is among the first 10 drugs selected to face price negotiations with the federal Medicare program. Those price negotiations heated up last week after Medicare sent its initial price offers for each drug to manufacturers.

More CNBC health coverage

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly said the price increase was offset by lower prices for its other diabetes drug, Trulicity, and its insulin product Humalog.

Trulicity reported revenue of $1.67 billion, down 14% from the same period last year. Analysts expected Trulicity to post revenue of $1.77 billion for the quarter.

Humalog reported revenue of $366.6 million for the quarter, down 33% from last year. Analysts expected the drug to bring in $438 million in sales, according to FactSet.

This decrease is not a surprise: last year, Eli Lilly stated that this reducing the prices of Humalog and another commonly prescribed insulin by 70% and capping monthly fees at $35 at certain retail pharmacies for people with private insurance starting May 1, 2023.

Executives will likely be asked whether the company has made more progress in resolving 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 has significantly slowed the progression of the memory-impairing disease in patients with early stages of this.

The company did not mention the drug in its earnings release.

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