Eli Lilly swings into losses for Q4, 2008

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Eli Lilly has reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2008, which ended Dec. 31, 2008.

The Indianapolis-based company booked a net loss of $3.6 billion, compared with a profit of $854 million in the same period a year earlier. Lilly said its 2008 full-year results showed a loss of $2.1 billion, a swing from 2007 net income of $2.95 billion.

Lilly attributed its quarterly losses to a lawsuit settlement, lackluster sales associated with Zyprexa and cancer-drug maker ImClone Systems acquisition costs.

Lilly said its worldwide sales for 2008 were $20.38 billion, an increase of 9 percent compared with 2007. Sales volume increased 5 percent, while exchange rates contributed 3 percent of worldwide sales growth and selling prices contributed 2 percent. For the fourth quarter 2008, its worldwide sales for the quarter were $5.2 billion—essentially flat compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. U.S. sales grew 3 percent to $2.94 billion, while sales outside the U.S. declined 3 percent to $2.27 billion.

Worldwide sales of its type 2 diabetes drug Byetta were $186.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, a 2 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2007, according to Lilly. U.S. Byetta sales decreased 8 percent, to $162.7 million. Byetta sales outside the U.S. were $23.9 million. Lilly reports as revenue its 50 percent share of Byetta's gross margin in the U.S.;100 percent of Byetta sales outside the U.S.; and its sales of Byetta pen delivery devices to its partner, Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

For the quarter, Lilly recognized revenue of $103 million, representing a 12 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2007. For the full-year, worldwide Byetta sales increased 16 percent to $751.4 million. U.S. Byetta sales for 2008 grew 7 percent to $678.5 million, while sales outside the U.S. were $72.9 million.

For 2008, Lilly recognized revenue totaling $396 million, representing a 20 percent increase compared with 2007.

“All of this increase was due to the impact of the rapid decline of the euro compared to the U.S. dollar during the fourth quarter of 2008, resulting in a benefit to cost of sales,” according to the company.

Lilly Chairman and CEO John C. Lechleiter asserted that 2008 was a “transformational” year, and attributed earning losses and modest sales growth to consequences that typically accompany such a year.