Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Can Eli Lilly Save This Drug?

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

A replacement for Zyprexa, pomaglumetad methionil is not. Or maybe it is. Feeling a little schizophrenic? So, too,  it seems is Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) .

The pharma announced that two different doses of the drug failed to show an effect in patients with schizophrenia compared to placebo. Eli Lilly even subdivided the treatment groups in the phase 3 trial based on predefined genetic differences of the patients and couldn't see a difference compared to placebo.

Psychiatric trials sometimes have issues with placebo performing better than expecting, washing out any effect the drug has, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The company smartly included a positive control in the trial. Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ  ) Risperdal improved the symptoms of patients more than placebo and pomaglumetad methionil.

Seems pretty clear that pomaglumetad methionil is dead. And yet Eli Lilly appears to be holding out hope for the drug. The company is continuing another phase 3 trial and expects to do an interim analysis on that trial later in the year. In the press release, Eli Lilly also highlighted a phase 2 trial testing pomaglumetad methionil in combination with atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal, Lilly's Zyprexa, Bristol-Myers Squibb's (NYSE: BMY  ) Abilify, and Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE  ) Geodon.

Maybe the trials aren't that expensive to continue, making them worth the gamble, however slight the chances for a positive result are. Maybe Eli Lilly feels a scientific duty to continue the trials, which as a scientist I applaud, but the company is in business to make money. Considering the current state of Eli Lilly's research and development program, frivolous spending isn't an option.

Eli Lilly lost U.S. exclusivity on Zyprexa last year, and sales of the top-selling drug fell 56% in the first quarter as a result. The pharma doesn't necessarily need a schizophrenia drug to make up for the sales, but it does need some sort of drug with blockbuster potential to shore up the revenue line.

Pomaglumetad methionil doesn't look like it'll be it. Unless those ongoing trials show it is.

The drug markets are huge, but Fool analysts have found a larger one. Find out what it is and how to profit from it in our free report, "The Next Trillion-Dollar Revolution." Get your free copy by clicking here.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer and have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1943437, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 11:55:25 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,187.12 -35.91 -0.20%
S&P 500 2,145.28 -6.05 -0.28%
NASD 5,290.81 -19.02 -0.36%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/25/2016 11:39 AM
LLY $77.56 Down -0.01 -0.01%
Eli Lilly and Co. CAPS Rating: ***
BMY $49.90 Up +0.67 +1.35%
Bristol-Myers Squi… CAPS Rating: ****
JNJ $113.86 Up +0.25 +0.22%
Johnson and Johnso… CAPS Rating: ****
PFE $32.30 Up +0.17 +0.51%
Pfizer CAPS Rating: ****