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Lilly's new products drive up sales

Published on 08/08/06 at 11:08am

Accelerated sales of predicted blockbuster depression treatment Cymbalta have helped boost Lilly sales for the second quarter of 2006.

The drug was one of a number of fast-growing, newer products, including Alimta, Byetta and Forteo, which contributed to an overall 5% sales increase. Lilly says its newer products now account for around a quarter of sales, helping to offset its reliance on Zyprexa, which is suffering a stagnation in sales.

Despite this, the schizophrenia drug still accounted for nearly one third of the company's total $3.9 billion for the period.

The company's net income for the second quarter was $822 million, compared with a second quarter 2005 net loss of $252 million.

Cymbalta sales soared to $310 million in this period, a 92% increase compared with the second quarter of 2005.  The company recently submitted the drug for a new licence in generalised anxiety disorder, which if approved, should further increase sales.

The company is also conducting phase III studies on Cymbalta for the treatment of fibromyalgia, a chronic and frequently debilitating pain disorder.

Forteo, Lilly's osteoporosis drug, increased its sales by more than 40% in the 2006 second quarter, while the company's chemotherapy drug Alimta was not far behind, with an increase in sales of just under 40%.

Worldwide sales of Lilly/ICOS' promising, new erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil), increased by 22%.

Lilly's chief executive Sidney Taurel said: "Notably, our newer products are accounting for a greater portion of our total revenue, representing nearly one-fourth this quarter. The newer product growth was led by acceleration in Cymbalta sales."

In the past three months, Lilly has initiated a phase III clinical trial to study enzastaurin as a maintenance therapy to prevent relapse in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is also being studied in phase III trials for the treatment of relapsed glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive and malignant form of brain cancer.

Last month, Lilly announced it was to close its UK manufacturing facility in Basingstoke as part of a global, cost-cutting exercise. The company says it has over-capacity in its worldwide manufacturing of tablets and other 'dry' products. A total of 445 employees and more than 100 contractors will go.

Lilly also maintains that its pipeline has become increasingly weighted towards injectable medicines and a re-fit of the Basingstoke plant to allow the manufacture of these products is not feasible.

Its research sites in Germany and Belgium are also earmarked for closure with a loss of 480 jobs.

The cutbacks are part of Lilly's plan to cut its average R&D spending per drug launched from the current $1.1 billion to around $800 million.









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