Eli Lilly smashed Wall Street projections thanks to its diabetes drugs
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Happy Thursday, readers.
Shares of Indianapolis-based drug giant Eli Lilly rose 2% in Thursday trading following a bullish earnings report that bested Wall Street expectations. (And a 2% increase is no mean feat for a company with a market valuation of $135 billion.)
Lilly was lifted by strong sales numbers from its flagship diabetes drugs. It’s a big win for the company as it attempts to fight back fierce competition in the sector from generics with new diabetes drug launches and higher sales volume.
The earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2019 included news of $6.1 billion in revenues, an 8% year-over-year increase and $200 million over consensus Wall Street expectations. The truly bullish signal in the earnings report is the company’s expanding reach across the U.S. patient pool—the number of people using Lilly medicines spiked by nearly 10%, making up for an overall drop in list prices for the firm’s drugs.
Trulicity and Jardiance, two of Lilly’s key drugs for type 2 diabetes, were some of the company’s biggest sellers in the fourth quarter.
But there may be another factor fueling the investor bullishness: Lilly executives’ decision to nix a trio of experimental cancer assets that they didn’t think were worth a financial risk. It’s likely a lasting lesson from the financially painful experience the firm suffered from its big bet on an experimental Alzheimer’s drug, which it abandoned between 2016 and 2018. That project cost Lilly more than $150 million.
In addition to this apparent “fail faster” philosophy, which gives biopharma companies an out before they’ve invested too much in a risky product, overall sales volume growth seems to be fueling investor confidence. Lilly’s shares are up more than 8.5% year-to-date compared with a relatively flat NYSE composite. Over the past 12 months, Lilly stock is up more than 23% compared with about 14% for the NYSE composite.
Read on for the day’s news.
Can bots mess with public health studies? We've highlighted the negative effects that social media (especially trolls, bots, and spam pages) can have on public health when it comes to critical issues like vaccination. A new report in Nature brings up a different kind of threat: The possibility that bots may interfere with academic studies that rely on social media to glean information about human health and behavior. For instance, researchers may attempt to collect information about mental health in the wake of a natural disaster but increasingly sophisticated bots could skew the results, muddying the waters on who is an actual person and, well, who isn't. (Nature)
The anatomy of the coronavirus outbreak. On Thursday, the CDC confirmed the first known person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus in the U.S. On the same day, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared a global health emergency over the outbreak (although, as the agency stressed, that's not a reason to panic for the vast majority of people). I spoke with renowned virologist and public health expert Dr. Peter Hotez on the nature of the coronavirus, transmission rates, and the progress we've seen so far on vaccine development. (Fortune)
THE BIG PICTURE
U.S. life expectancy rises for the first time in four years. Yes, there's some good news: for the first time in four years, American life expectancy actually rose a bit (if modestly). The average increase in life expectancy is only a month (78 years and 8 months, according to CDC, though females have a higher life expectancy than men do). The report find thats falling death rates from drug overdoses and certain types of cancer were linked to the incremental rise, although suicides continued to increase. (Fortune)
EPA says that common weed killer glyphosate doesn't cause cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reiterated on Thursday that the common weed killer glyphosate isn't a carcinogen. The chemical has been at the center of lawsuits against Bayer AG for its popular Roundup product and will provide a hefty legal boost to the company as it fields thousands of lawsuits on the matter. (Reuters)
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Philip Morris CEO aims for a 'smoke free future,' by Susie Gharib