I don't get it.
Let's start with the expanded label for Byetta, which the Food and Drug Administration has approved for use in combination with Sanofi's
The expansion into patients early in their disease progression made a lot of sense. Most doctors aren't going to prescribe Byetta, which has to be injected twice a day, over oral medications such as Takeda's Actos, Merck's
Fewer injections won't be as important for the other end of the spectrum, since Lantus has to be injected anyway. By the time diabetics have to take daily insulin, they've gotten over their needle phobia or at least accepted it.
Management thinks Byetta might have staying power in insulin-requiring diabetics even after Bydureon is launched, but the sales data would say otherwise. Sales of Byetta have been dropping since Novo Nordisk
That leaves the earnings report to be excited about. Perhaps investors were thrilled that Byetta sales dropped only 3%. Amylin's other drug, Symlin, is growing, but it's a relatively small fraction of Amylin's revenue, which will hopefully be even smaller after it launches Bydureon stateside. Amylin did narrow its loss down to just $13 million from more than $50 million a year ago, but the company got a $15 million milestone payment from Lilly this quarter, so it's not all that close to being profitable on a GAAP basis.
There's plenty to be excited about with Amylin: the launch of Bydureon in the U.S. finally and perhaps a resolution of its fight with Lilly. But this week's news seems more like an appetizer than the main course. Don't fill up just yet.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.