Eli Lilly soars on Mounjaro's swift sales growth as potential obesity approval nears

As Eli Lilly's diabetes star Mounjaro skyrockets in growth and races toward a potential obesity indication, the company isn't phased by supply strains or new trial results from Novo Nordisk's established weight-loss drug Wegovy.

Eli Lilly's popular GIP/GLP-1 agonist Mounjaro is already seeing rampant demand, with sales hitting $979 million during the second the quarter. Thanks to the demand, the diabetes med has seen its fair share of supply woes since its launch last May.

Mounjaro's latest shortage was reported in late July, and the company now expects supply to remain tight throughout the rest of the year, president of Lilly diabetes, Michael Mason, said on the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call.

To address strong demand, Lilly has poured billions of dollars into new diabetes manufacturing sites in North Carolina, plus in its home state of Indiana. Once the North Carolina sites come online by the end of the year, capacity for Mounjaro and GLP-1 med Trulicity should double from last year’s baseline, chief financial officer Anat Ashkenazi said.

Meanwhile, Lilly's GLP-1 rival Novo Nordisk just delivered "best-case" results in a cardiovascular outcomes trial for its star obesity drug Wegovy, as described by one analyst.

The cardio outcomes results were a heavily discussed topic on Lilly's call and are "great" for the entire drug class, Mason said, because they change the narrative on obesity meds “from aesthetics and more toward the health benefits."

With a potential obesity approval for tirzepatide later this year, Lilly is evaluating whether to use a different brand name for the new indication, Mason noted. The drug carries the Mounjaro moniker in diabetes.

Lilly’s 28% year-over-year revenue increase to $8.3 billion is a success story compared to last quarter when the company posted an 11% decline thanks to falling COVID-19 antibody sales. Now, not even the dip in pandemic sales can rain on Lilly’s parade.

Nearly all of the company’s products posted sales growth. Boehringer Ingelheim-partnered diabetes and heart failure drug Jardiance was up 45% from last year’s second quarter to $668 million, while breast cancer med Verzenio saw a 57% increase to $926 million.

Lilly’s all-around growth made the company confident enough to raise its full-year revenue guidance from between $31.2 billion and $31.7 billion to a new range of $33.4 billion to $33.9 billion. Lilly's shares were trading up by 16.7% on Tuesday at around noon Eastern time.