Like another small-molecule firm, Novartis
Lilly's sales were up 19% year over year, largely because sales of drug and depression treatment Cymbalta grew 47%, and, thanks to the ICOS acquisition, sales of Cialis were included on the top line. GAAP operating income growth of only 8% was significantly less spectacular because of a settlement of Zyprexa product liability claims.
Lilly's top drug, the antipsychotic Zyprexa, which accounted for 25% of revenue in the third quarter, is still experiencing some of the same problems as rival Pfizer's
If its once-a-month injection form of the drug can make it to market, Zyprexa could return to a sustainable sales growth level, until it loses U.S. patent protection in 2011. Lilly would face one main competitor in Johnson & Johnson
Lilly's operating income growth was rather pedestrian in the third quarter. But in two weeks, Lilly will offer a better look at its future when it announces results of a phase 3 trial of its anticoagulant prasugrel at the American Heart Association conference.
Lilly went all out with its bet on prasugrel, testing the drug in a superiority trial head-to-head versus blockbuster treatment Plavix, from Bristol-Myers Squibb
Lilly's pipeline will dictate its near-term future. It's anyone's guess how the study results will turn out, but a drugmaker doesn't often hold back on whether or not goals were met before a medical meeting unless it was unsuccessful. Either way, we'll find out soon enough.