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Eli Lilly beats profit forecast amid soaring weight-loss drug demand

Published 06/02/2024, 12:02
Updated 06/02/2024, 13:30
© Reuters
(Updated - February 6, 2024 8:26 AM EST) -- Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) has reported fourth-quarter revenue that topped estimates thanks in large part to soaring demand for its weekly diabetes injection.

The U.S. drugmaker's treatment -- branded as Mounjaro -- is in a race with a rival version from Denmark's Novo Nordisk to secure dominance in a booming market for weight-loss drugs that is estimated to be worth $80 billion a year by the end of the decade.

Worldwide revenue from Mounjaro, which was also approved for weight loss in the U.S. under the brand name Zepbound, surged to $2.2 billion in the three months ended on Dec. 31, above projections of $8.96B. In the corresponding period in 2022, sales of the treatment had registered $279.2 million.

Much of the fourth-quarter total stemmed from the U.S., where higher prices, rising demand, and a favorable one-time change in rebates and discounts drove domestic revenue up to $2.11B.

Adjusted earnings per share jumped by almost a fifth versus the year-ago period to $2.49. Gross margin as a percent of revenue, meanwhile, expanded to 80.9%, beating Bloomberg consensus expectations of 78.8%.

However, Lilly added that it "has experienced" and "continues to expect" intermittent delays in fulfilling orders of certain Mounjaro doses due to "significant" demand. The statement comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned earlier this week that only limited amounts of three of the higher doses of Mounjaro will be available through early March.

Shares in Eli Lilly moved higher in premarket trading on Tuesday.

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