Weight loss, diabetes drugs propel Eli Lilly to better-than-expected forecast for 2024

Weight loss, diabetes drugs propel Eli Lilly to better-than-expected forecast for 2024

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The popular diabetes treatment Mounjaro pushed Eli Lilly past fourth-quarter forecasts, and the drugmaker expects 2024 to turn out largely better than expected too, as new products build momentum.

Lilly debuted on Tuesday a forecast for the new year that calls for adjusted earnings ranging from $12.20 to $12.70 per share as its new weight-loss drug Zepbound becomes established following its launch late last year.

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Analysts expect earnings of $12.39 per share, according to the data firm FactSet.

Zepound, a new version of Mounjaro, registered about $176 million in sales during the final weeks of the fourth quarter after it became the latest drug approved for a hot area of medicine, chronic weight management.

FactSet says analysts expect around $1.9 billion in sales from Zepbound this year. They see sales climbing to $12 billion in a few years.

Lilly also saw Mounjaro sales climb 65% to $2.21 billion in the fourth quarter compared to the year’s previous quarter.

For 2024, the drugmaker also is awaiting a Food and Drug Administration decision on its potential Alzheimer’s treatment, donanemab. Research has shown that the drug can modestly slow mental decline in patients with the fatal, mind-robbing disease. That hasn’t been possible until treatments like Leqembi from the Japanese drugmaker Eisai entered the market the past few years.

In the final quarter of 2023, Lilly booked a $2.19 billion profit. Earnings adjusted for one-time items came to $2.49 per share.

Revenue grew 28% to $9.35 billion.

Analysts expect adjusted earnings of $2.30 per share on $8.95 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

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Lilly shares jumped 5% to $741.50 in premarket trading Tuesday.

The stock price topped $700 for the first time on Monday, and has already set several new all-time high marks just this year. The price of Lilly shares has climbed over 400% since the start of the decade.

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