Going out on top

Before we get into Lilly’s numbers and what they mean a brief moment to congratulate Enrique Conterno SR VP and President of Lilly who will be retiring at the end of the year. It’s not an understatement to say that Enrique has overseen a complete turnaround of the diabetes franchise since he took command. Lilly now boosts the most comprehensive portfolio of diabetes therapies unmatched by any of its rivals. He will leave the franchise in solid shape for Mike Mason who will be taking his place. Great job Enrique enjoy the sunshine and a good bottle of wine, job well done.

Ok now onto the analysis which really comes down to Trulicity which is Lilly’s biggest seller. As expected with the approval of Novo’s oral GLP-1 Rybelsus everyone is curious how this approval and upcoming launch will impact the sales of Trulicity. The reality is no one really knows given the multiple factors surrounding the launch. Based on everything we know our outlook remains the same, we see Rybelsus getting off to fast start, yet the real test will come with refills. The key here is will the complex dosing regimen for Rybelsus be overcome or will patients revert to other less complex therapy options like Trulicity. Overall, we do not see this launch adversely impacting Trulicity sales.

We continue to wait for word on just when the Lilly connected insulin pen will get here unfortunately no update was given today. Given the commodization of the insulin space we see this device as critical to the future. As we have been stating for some time it won’t be long before all the insulin companies have a Tyler. Yet all the insulin companies just can’t get out of their way here. It’s somewhat surprising that Lilly has yet to receive FDA approval for their device and the lack of any news today tells us we’ll have to wait until the first quarter for more information.

Overall things are going pretty well for Lilly and once again they are gearing for battle against Novo. The irony here is that these two diabetes heavyweights who once battled over insulin supremacy are now battling again only this time for GLP-1 supremacy.