The big news lately in the pharmaceutical industry has been safety. Pfizer's
Thanks to Eli Lilly
The consensus on Wall Street reportedly was that Eli Lilly would win the case. Nevertheless, the judgment has led to a collective sigh of relief among investors, with the stock up about 5% today on heavy volume. Should things run their course, Eli Lilly's patent on Zyprexa will be valid until 2011. Still, the celebration over Zyprexa may be a bit premature. The generic drug makers plan to appeal the case, according to Indystar.com. And it's not as if drug patent cases haven't been overturned on appeal. Back in 2000, Barr Laboratories
Fortunately, even if Lilly loses Zyprexa, its bench looks pretty deep. Its anti-depression drug Cymbalta, launched in the third quarter of 2004, achieved sales of $93.9 million in its first two quarters, and it is sure to keep growing fast. Meanwhile, its cancer treatment Alimta brought in $142.6 million in sales in 2004, the drug's first year on the market. Finally, the company is awaiting FDA approval for another potential winner -- exenatide for type 2 diabetes. While the Zyprexa victory was a positive development, the best news for Eli Lilly may be that its reliance on Zyprexa is likely to lessen.
Fool contributor Brian Gorman is a freelance writer in Chicago. He does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.