Weight loss and diabetes drugs push Eli Lilly to a better-than-expected 2024 forecast

Popular diabetes treatment Mounjaro pushed Eli Lilly past fourth-quarter expectations, and the drugmaker also expects 2024 to largely be better than expected as new products gain popularity.

Lilly on Tuesday debuted a new year forecast that calls for adjusted earnings ranging from $12.20 to $12.70 per share as its new weight-loss drug Zepbound makes its debut late last year.

Analysts expect earnings of $12.39 per share, according to data agency FactSet.

Zepound, a new version of Mounjaro, recorded sales of about $176 million in the final weeks of the fourth quarter after becoming the latest drug to be approved for a popular medical area, chronic weight management.

FactSet says analysts expect sales of about $1.9 billion from Zepbound this year. They see sales increasing to $12 billion within a few years.

Lilly also saw Mounjaro’s fourth-quarter revenue jump 65% to $2.21 billion, compared to the previous quarter of the year.

Before 2024, the drugmaker is also awaiting a decision from the Food and Drug Administration on its potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, donanemab. Research has shown that the drug can modestly slow mental decline in patients with the deadly, mind-robbing disease. This was only possible when treatments such as Leqembi from the Japanese drug manufacturer Eisai came onto the market in recent years.

In the final quarter of 2023, Lilly posted a profit of $2.19 billion. Earnings adjusted for one-time items amounted to $2.49 per share.

Revenue grew 28% to $9.35 billion.

Analysts expect adjusted earnings of $2.30 per share on revenue of $8.95 billion, according to FactSet.

Shares of Lilly rose 5% to $741.50 in premarket trading on Tuesday.

The share price…

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