Eli Lilly's profits fall 5% in Q3

It's earnings time again. Today, Eli Lilly ($LLY) announced that its profits for the third quarter fell 5% to $1.24 billion. However, its revenue jumped 9% to $6.15 billion on strong performances by Cymbalta, Humalog, Forteo, Strattera, Cialis and Alimta, as well as growth in animal health, Japan and China.

The growth in those categories helped offset the erosion of Gemzar sales as a result of generic competition, according to CEO John Lechleiter (photo). And it soon faces another challenge: the loss of exclusivity on Zyprexa. "As we face the loss of patent exclusivity for Zyprexa in most major markets, we are well-prepared as a company to meet the challenges before us. We remain committed to our innovation-based strategy and are focused on delivering the next wave of new medicines to patients in the coming years," Lechleiter added.

Zyprexa sales totaled $1.18 billion during the quarter, a decrease of 3% versus the same period last year. U.S. sales of the med fell 7% to $563.2 million. The company will lose U.S. exclusivity on the drug next week, and it expects a "rapid and severe decline in Zyprexa sales" with the introduction of generic copies. It lost exclusivity on the drug in Europe last month.

The patent cliff is a recurring theme for Big Pharma as of late, affecting Lilly and its competitors. "This is the beginning of a short period of a new normal, meaning negative earnings growth at the beginning of the patent cliff," said Damien Conover, an analyst at Morningstar, in a telephone interview with Bloomberg before the figures were announced. "The sales look reasonably good."

On the bright side, worldwide sales of animal health products were $451 million, an increase of 28% compared with the third quarter of 2010. U.S. sales grew 20 percent, to $237.9 million, due in part to the recent launch of Trifexis, a chewable tablet for dogs that kills fleas and prevents heartworm disease, among other things. Meanwhile, sales outside the U.S. jumped 37% to $213.2 million, driven by the impact of the acquisition of certain Janssen and Pfizer animal health assets in Europe.

Lilly also did not raise its full-year profit forecast, but revised its 2011 earnings per share guidance range to $3.89 - $3.94.

- see the Eli Lilly statement
- check out more from Bloomberg

ALSO: Prasco Laboratories announced today it has signed a marketing and distribution agreement with Lilly to market the authorized generic version of Zyprexa tablets and Zyprexa Zydis orally disintegrating tablets in the U.S. Prasco release