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Drugmaker Eli Lilly profit hit by weak demand for pandemic drugs

(Reuters) -Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co fell short of quarterly profit expectations on Tuesday, as persistent regulatory actions in the United States and lower demand hurt sales of its COVID-19 therapies.

The distribution of its antibody cocktail was paused by the U.S. health officials in late June after lab analyses showed it was not effective against variants first identified in Brazil and South Africa.

Hospitals have also struggled with administering the drugs bamlanivimab and etesevimab, slowing its sales, which have further been dented by vaccine rollouts in the United States.

The U.S. health regulator have also denied the lone use of bamlanivimab to treat COVID-19 in response to variants that could be resistant to the treatment.

Shares of the company fell 2% before the bell after it lowered the upper end of its annual sales forecast for the therapies to $1.1 billion, from its prior view of between $1 billion and $1.5 billion.

Sales of its antibody treatments came in at $148.9 million in the quarter compared to $810.1 million in the previous quarter.

However, sales of its blockbuster diabetes drug Trulicity rose 25% to $1.54 billion, roughly in line with estimates of $1.53 billion.

Other growth drivers such as psoriasis drug Taltz also exceeded market expectations, but sales of some diabetes treatments missed the Wall Street targets.

Sales of insulin injection Humalog rose 9% to $607.6 million, but missed estimates of $622.14 million.

Net income fell to $1.39 billion in the quarter ended June 30 from $1.41 billion a year ago.

Excluding items, Lilly earned $1.87 per share, missing estimates of $1.89 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data

The drugmaker said it plans to submit a marketing application for its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, donanemab, by the end of this year.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)


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