Will Eli Lilly's Big Bets Pay Off?

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Tomorrow, Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY  ) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed kneejerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

The pharmaceutical industry has a lot of opportunities for growth right now, and Eli Lilly has done its best to claim its share of those opportunities. But Lilly faces a tough road in building up its pipeline to offset the impact of expiring patent protection on some of its blockbuster drugs. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Eli Lilly over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on Eli Lilly

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$5.66 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Lilly deliver healthy results this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have gotten more optimistic about Lilly's earnings prospects. They've made a $0.07 per share increase both to their first-quarter and full-year 2013 estimates, helping to send the stock to about a 10% gain since mid-January.

The toughest obstacle for big pharma lately has been the wave of patent expirations hitting the industry. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) has had to deal with the loss of Lipitor, which produced more than $130 billion in lifetime sales, as well as several other important drugs in its lineup. Fellow giant Merck (NYSE: MRK  ) had to lower its 2013 forecast when its Singulair patent protection expired. Yet even with the whole industry facing the patent cliff, Lilly is having to deal with expiring patents on drug after drug, including Zyprexa in 2011 and Cymbalta at the end of this year, and its pipeline hasn't delivered on its full promise to replace those lost sales.

To address those concerns, Lilly has turned to oncology and diabetes treatments, which make up the vast majority of its stable of clinical-stage drugs. Just last week, the company announced favorable results on phase 3 trials of its dulaglutide treatment for type 2 diabetes, including signs of superiority over Sanofi's (NYSE: SNY  ) Lantus. In addition, Lilly is still seeking to address Alzheimer's disease, having made a deal with Germany's Siemens (NASDAQOTH: SIEGY  ) to obtain imaging tracers that could help it develop treatments for the disease.

Still, Lilly has had to take tough measures in light of its patent cliff. Earlier this month, the company said it would have to restructure its sales force, with job cuts expected by July 1. The restructuring could result in a net job loss of roughly 700 workers as the company strives to contain costs.

In Lilly's report, watch closely for signs of how well its cost-containment measures are doing at preserving profits. Lilly needs to make the most of Cymbalta before it loses patent protection, and shoring up its finances to withstand the coming hit is essential.

With key drugs poised to lose patent protection this year, is Eli Lilly a dividend stock headed nowhere fast? In a new premium report, The Motley Fool's senior pharmaceuticals analyst breaks down all of Lilly's moving parts, including an in-depth analysis of the company's must-know opportunities and reasons to buy and sell today. To find out more click here to claim your copy today.

Click here to add Eli Lilly to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (1)

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.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2013, at 11:39 AM, DannyHaszard wrote:

    Lilly has doubled promotion and production of the insulin pen devices.

    Eli Lilly Zyprexa can cause diabetes I took Zyprexa a powerful Lilly schizophrenic drug for 4 years it was prescribed to me off-label for post traumatic stress disorder was ineffective costly and gave me diabetes.

    This is a powerful drug that can damage a young person physiologically for life. Please take with caution and learn as much as you can about side effects.

    Eli Lilly’s #1 cash cow Zyprexa drug sale $70 billion dollars so far,has a ten times greater risk of causing type 2 diabetes over the non-user of Zyprexa. So,here we have a conflict of interest that this same company also is a big profiteer of diabetes treatment

    .'Atypical' antipsychotic Zyprexa is the worst offender of them all.Google-Haszard Zyprexa - got a page up.

    -Daniel Haszard

    FMI zyprexa-victims(DOT)com

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