Drugmaker Eli Lilly is set to unveil the sales performance of Zepbound, its newly launched obesity medicine, as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report. This highly anticipated announcement will provide investors with valuable insights into the success of the product.
Anticipated Sales Figures
Pharmacies began stocking Zepbound in early December, and experts predict that the medication will generate approximately $75 million in sales for the quarter. Furthermore, Mounjaro, a diabetes treatment that contains the same active ingredients as Zepbound and was approved in 2022, is projected to have achieved $1.7 billion in sales during the same quarter. This represents a significant increase from the $279 million recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2022.
Overall Performance Expectations
Based on information gathered by FactSet, analysts anticipate that Eli Lilly will report total sales of $8.9 billion for the final quarter of 2024. Moreover, it is estimated that the company’s earnings will amount to $2.30 per share.
Remarkable Stock Performance
Investor excitement surrounding both Zepbound and Mounjaro has contributed to a notable surge in Eli Lilly’s stock value. The company’s shares have surged by 21% throughout 2024 and an impressive 109% over the past twelve months.
Eli Lilly’s impressive trajectory stands in stark contrast to the experiences of many of its major pharmaceutical counterparts, most of whom recently disclosed their quarterly earnings results. Companies like Pfizer have been striving to recover from a challenging 2023, which was marked by a slew of patent expirations.
According to FactSet’s analysis, industry experts expect Eli Lilly’s earnings to experience an explosive surge starting this year. Projections indicate a rise to $30.26 per share in 2028, representing a significant increase from the $6.23 per share recorded in 2023.
Manufacturing Capacity Challenges for Lilly and Novo Nordisk
Both Lilly and its competitor Novo Nordisk have identified manufacturing capacity as a concern for their weight loss and diabetes medicines. In response, Novo recently announced an $11 billion plan to acquire three facilities that are integral to its manufacturing process. This acquisition is part of a larger $16.5 billion deal under which Novo’s controlling shareholder plans to acquire the contract manufacturer Catalent.
During a January investor conference, Lilly CEO David Ricks was asked when capacity would no longer be a limiting factor for drugs in the same category as Zepbound. His response was clear: “not anytime soon.” However, Ricks emphasized that this statement should not be interpreted negatively, but rather as a reflection of the tremendous opportunity presented by these medications.
One of the current challenges for Lilly is securing insurance coverage for Zepbound. The potential costs involved make this task particularly daunting. In fact, in January, Lilly publicly expressed its opposition to the use of Mounjaro and Zepbound for “cosmetic weight loss.”
To address these issues, Lilly has scheduled an investor call on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.