Eli Lilly Reports Strong Fourth Quarter, Boosted by COVID-19 Antibodies

By Jemima McEvoy Monday, February 1, 2021

Eli Lilly reported an exceptionally strong Q4 (fourth quarter), largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pharmaceutical company developed an antibody treatment that governments are stockpiling. As a result, the business saw its sales increase by 22% in the quarter to a total of $7.5 billion.

Eli Lilly and Company World Headquarters.

What Is Eli Lilly?

Eli Lilly is a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, with locations in 18 different countries. The company was founded in 1876 by veteran and pharmaceutical chemist Col. Eli Lilly. The net worth for the business is $198.94 billion as of January 2021.

Eli Lilly Amid the Pandemic

Eli Lilly is one of a number of pharmaceutical companies that joined the rush to develop treatments for the coronavirus. The company developed a neutralizing antibody, bamlanivimab, which has since been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency usage. The antibody helps prevent virus symptoms among high-risk groups.

Governments have scrambled to get hold of the business’s COVID-19 antibody. In fact, the company says it has delivered nearly 1 million doses to date, and the US government just made a deal to purchase another 500,000 doses from the business.

Sales Surges

The company’s antibody treatment has certainly played a large role in a strong Q4 of sales, which was actually 9% better than analysts predicted for the business. The company said its Q4 sales increased by 22%, driven by a volume growth of 24%. Excluding the $871 in revenue from bamlanivimab sales, growth was just 7%.

However, it was just the COVID-19 antibody that spurred the success of this quarter as other parts of the business grew. The company saw sales of its diabetes drugs, Trulicity and Jardiance, increase by 24% and 17%, respectively. Furthermore, sales of Eli Lilly’s autoimmune treatment, Taltz, grew by 18%, and sales of the cancer drug Verzenio grew 57%. The company also has numerous trials around diseases like Alzheimer’s, which offer promise for the future.

The coronavirus pandemic will likely boost sales for the business for at least a few more quarters as — despite the fact that multiple vaccine candidates have been approved for emergency use — experts predict that the virus will not be stamped out right away.

Final Takeaways

Eli Lilly is one of several pharmaceutical companies to have benefited from the coronavirus pandemic. However, it’s also interesting to see that the company’s growth in sales comes from drugs and trials outside of the antibody treatment, which is a positive sign for when the pandemic is no longer having such a direct impact on the business.

About the Author


Headshot for author Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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