Eli Lilly Signs Deal with Prasco

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Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) entered into an agreement with Prasco Laboratories for the marketing of an authorized generic version of Evista 60 mg, in the U.S. Shipping of the product will begin immediately. Financial details were not provided.

We note that Evista (prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, reducing the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and postmenopausal women at high risk for invasive breast cancer) lost exclusivity recently. Evista sales in the U.S. came in at $772.0 million in 2013, accounting for 3% of total revenues generated by Eli Lilly in that year.

Meanwhile, Eli Lilly received some good news regarding its patent infringement lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) for its cancer drug, Alimta.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana said that Alimta’s vitamin dosage regimen patent is valid and enforceable until 2022. A compound patent for Alimta remains valid through early 2017.

Alimta generated sales of $2.7 billion in 2013, up 4%. In the U.S. Alimta sales were $1.21 billion in 2013, comprising 5% of total revenues generated by Eli Lilly.

The court’s ruling regarding the Alimta patent should come as a major relief for Eli Lilly, which is facing generic competition for several major products, including Cymbalta. Earlier-than-expected entry of generic competition for Alimta would be a major setback for the company.

The biggest near-term challenge for Eli Lilly is to replace the revenues lost due to the Zyprexa and Cymbalta genericization. On the flip side, the Animal Health business and the diabetes franchise should provide some downside support.

We are also pleased to see Eli Lilly pursuing small acquisitions and in-licensing deals to boost its pipeline.

Eli Lilly carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) and Alkermes plc (ALKS). Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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