Drop in demand for COVID-19 treatment hits Eli Lilly forecast

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Eli Lilly was well below Wall Street expectations in the first quarter, and the drugmaker has cut the high end …

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Eli Lilly was well below Wall Street expectations for the first quarter, and the drugmaker has chopped the top of its profit forecast amid falling demand for COVID-19 treatments.

Shares of the Indianapolis company began to fall early Tuesday morning.

Lilly said he now expects adjusted earnings for 2021 to range from $ 7.80 to $ 8 per share after predicting a range of $ 7.75 to $ 8.40 in late January.

Analysts are forecasting, on average, earnings of $ 8.24 per share, according to FactSet.

Lilly pulled in $ 810 million in the quarter from sales of COVID-19 treatments and expects to bring in up to $ 1.5 billion this year. But the company also said it changed its adjusted earnings outlook, mainly due to lower expected demand for treatments and rising research and development costs.

COVID-19 vaccines are widely distributed in the United States and the evolution of the virus has limited the effectiveness of Lilly’s bamlanivimab, a single treatment administered intravenously.

Lilly said earlier this month that bamlanivimab should no longer be given to patients on its own, as combinations of treatments work better to fight certain variants of the virus.

He now recommends that healthcare providers use bamlanivimab with another of his medicines, etesevimab.

The decrease in demand for COVID-19 treatments was expected, according to Dr Vamil Divan, who follows Lilly for Mizuho Securities USA. But the weak sales of other drugs like Taltz psoriasis treatment surprised the analyst.

“Lilly also benefited from higher non-operating profit and a lower tax rate, otherwise the quarter would have been even worse,” Divan wrote in a research note.

Overall, Lilly’s net income fell 7% in the quarter to $ 1.35 billion, with adjusted earnings totaling $ 1.87 per share. Revenue increased 16% to $ 6.81 billion.

Analysts on average expected earnings of $ 2.12 per share on revenue of $ 6.93 billion.

Lilly’s shares were down more than 3% to $ 180.71 pre-market on Tuesday.

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Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy

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