Fresh off a 9% quarterly sales hike, Lilly sees new launches driving solid growth through 2020

Eli Lilly isn’t expecting an easy drug pricing environment going forward. But never fear, investors: It’s expecting volume gains.

Tuesday, the Indianapolis pharma giant predicted 5% revenue growth per year through the end of the decade--welcome news for a company that’s struggled to pick itself back up after patent expirations hit.

And that volume growth is already coming. For the second quarter, the company posted 10% volume expansion in its pharmaceutical unit, which took revenue up 9% year over year to reach $5.40 billion. Reported EPS rocketed upward, too, rising to 71 cents from 56 cents--a 27% increase.

Lilly, which suffered through a number of development setbacks in recent years before recently seeing some new products hit, has its new launches to thank for the Q2 performance. Cancer-fighter Cyramza leapt 79% to reach $278 million in worldwide sales, making up for a 4% U.S. slide from increased competition in non-small-cell lung cancer.

And a trio of diabetes meds came up big, too. Trulicity, the company’s GLP-1 contender, hauled in $201.3 million amid an increase in market share. SGLT2 standout Jardiance--which last year became the first diabetes therapy to show it could cut the combined risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death--netted $40.1 million. Brand-new Basaglar, the biosimilar version of Sanofi's megablockbuster Lantus, showed some early uptake success with a $16.3 million tally.

Lilly also highlighted Taltz, a next-gen psoriasis med that’s generated $19.3 million since its U.S. launch in April.

The way Lilly sees it, the company couldn’t be hitting its stride at a better time. As CEO John Lechleiter told CNBC Tuesday morning, he sees a future where drug pricing will be challenging across the board, meaning drugmakers won’t be able to rely on the price hikes they’ve so often employed in the past. Lilly has been among them: Between 2007 and 2014, the pharma took the list price of diabetes blockbuster Humulin up 354%.

Shareholders have nothing to worry about now, though, diabetes VP Mike Mason said on last quarter’s conference call. The company isn’t worried about net price concerns for its newer products, which should carry the company’s top line going forward.

- read Lilly's release

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