Chuffed on new launches, Eli Lilly unveils Street-beating 2020 sales forecast

Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly slightly adjusted its 2019 earnings guidance on Tuesday as it rolled out 2020 projections. (Eli Lilly)

Eli Lilly figures things are looking way up. With cost cuts and patent-cliff blows in the rearview mirror—and thanks to some outperforming new launches—the Indianapolis drugmaker rolled out better-than-expected revenue projections for 2020.

Lilly expects to bring in $23.6 billion to $24.1 billion next year, the drugmaker said Tuesday. That’s above consensus estimates of $23.5 billion, MarketWatch reports.  

It’s also higher than the company’s 2019 expectations of $22 to $22.5 billion. If Lilly meets its 2020 target, it would be able to beat its 6% annual growth projection for 2015 to 2020. 

Lilly plans to get there thanks to volume-driven growth for several medicines, including diabetes meds Trulicity and Jardiance, autoimmune med Taltz, and newer launches Emgality, Reyvow, Cyramza and Olumiant. Plus, it's expecting a few brand-new rollouts by this time next year.

On the flip side, Lilly expects generic competition for osteoporosis med Forteo and low-single-digit percentage price declines in the U.S. Forteo generated more than $1 billion for the drugmaker through the first 9 months of 2019. 

Still, Lilly expects "top-tier" revenue growth looking forward, and believes its patent exposure is "limited" until 2027.

RELATED: Lilly counts on growing markets to boost lagging Taltz, Trulicity 

Even as Lilly rolled out 2020 projections, the company also tweaked its 2019 guidance. The company slightly lowered its reported earnings per share estimates for this year due to debt expenses, restructuring costs and more. Those costs were mostly offset by Lilly’s antibiotics sale in China, the drugmaker said. 

Like its peers in diabetes, the company has dealt with years of pricing pressure and ballooning rebates, but it’s adapted by boosting its presence in other areas and cost-cutting. In September 2017, the drugmaker unveiled a round of 3,500 layoffs—mostly through early retirements—aimed at saving $500 million annually.  

The company has made “meaningful” progress in 2019 and is ready to meet its 2020 goals, Lilly CEO David Ricks said on a Tuesday conference call. It has one of the “freshest” portfolios in the industry, he added, and a pipeline with “exciting” opportunities. 

RELATED: Eli Lilly's Reyvow wins FDA nod for migraine relief, but side effects could limit sales: analyst 

The drugmaker just won FDA approval for migraine med Reyvow and is expected to launch next year after DEA scheduling. In addition, its migraine prevention drug Emgality has been scooping up market share and won an approval in cluster headaches.  

Lilly plans two other potential launches next year in its ultra-fast-acting insulin lispro and selpercatinib, a cancer drug it acquired with Loxo Oncology early this year.

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