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Eli Lilly’s First-Quarter Results Get Revenue Boost From COVID-19 Buying With 2020 Earnings View Raised

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Eli Lilly (LLY) reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter on Thursday as the pharmaceutical giant got a boost to revenue from COVID-19 led customer buying and it lifted the top end of the earnings guidance range for the full year.

Revenue jumped 15% to $5.86 billion in the first three months of the year, while non-GAAP earnings climbed to $1.75 a share from $1.33 a share previously. The consensus on Capital IQ was for $1.48 a share in earnings and revenue of $5.48 billion.

“Strong underlying demand for key growth products was augmented by approximately $250 million of additional revenue due to increased customer buying patterns and patient prescription trends due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lilly said in a statement.

The company’s first-quarter momentum came from higher patient and supply chain purchasing as the global health crisis deepened, the firm said. Lilly said it has delayed the starts of most new clinical trial studies and stopped enrollment in ongoing studies, but will keep up the trials for patients who are already signed up.

“Our revenue and operating margin outlook for 2020 is unchanged, but the economic and healthcare consequences of this pandemic are uncertain and could negatively affect our financial results later in 2020 and beyond, due to reduced non-COVID healthcare activities and global economic challenges,” said Josh Smiley, the company’s chief financial office.

Lilly projected non-GAAP earnings for the full year in a range of $6.70 to $6.90 a share, up from the previous outlook for $6.70 to $6.80. The Street is expecting $6.68 a share. The company maintained a view on revenue better $23.7 billion and $24.2 billion, driven by products including Trulicity for type two diabetes and Taltz for autoimmune diseases.

Expectations are that the COVID-19 driven gains in revenue “will largely be reversed over the course of 2020,” and health care activity “will align more closely with historical levels in the second half” of the year, Lilly said.

In the first quarter, Trulicity sales jumped 40% to $1.23 billion while Taltz was up 76% to $443.5 million. Sales of Humalog, also for diabetes, dipped 5% to $695.8 million. Revenue in the US rose 15% to $3.33 billion while outside the country, it was up 15% to $2.53 billion.

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