Eli Lilly results blow past estimates on strong Zepbound launch, surging Mounjaro revenue

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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.

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, 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.

The quarterly results are the first to include sales of Eli Lilly’s new weight loss drug Zepbound, which won approval from the Food and Drug Administration in early November. 

Some analysts expect Zepbound to rake in more than a billion dollars in sales in its first year on the market, and are enthusiastic about the drug in part because it may cause more weight loss than Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster obesity injection Wegovy. 

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.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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