Feb 6 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co cut its 2019 forecast for profit and revenue on Wednesday, citing the recent trial failure of its conditionally approved cancer drug Lartruvo and costs related to its pending acquisition of Loxo Oncology.
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Indianapolis-based Lilly is betting on new drugs and pushing deeper into cancer drug development as long-term top-sellers such as diabetes drug Humalog and erectile dysfunction treatment Cialis lose market share to cheaper rivals.
The company's shares fell 2.4 percent to $117.15 before the bell.
In January, the company said it would buy Loxo Oncology Inc for $8 billion, marking its foray into precision medicines for cancer that target rare genetic mutations. .
However, Lilly's drive to beef up its cancer drug franchise suffered a setback last month when its conditionally approved cancer drug, Lartruvo, failed to improve patient survival in a key confirmatory study.
Lartruvo had won accelerated approval in 2016 in the United States but its continued approval was contingent on the results of the late-stage trial.
Lilly has said it is suspending promotion of the drug and analysts expect a significant drop in sales as it will no longer be prescribed to new patients the United States.
The company said it now expects 2019 adjusted earnings per share of between $5.55 and $5.65, compared with an earlier forecast of $5.90 to $6.00.
It projected revenue to be between $25.1 billion and $25.6 billion, compared with its prior forecast of $25.3 billion to $25.8 billion.
The company posted net income of $1.13 billion for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $1.66 billion a year earlier, when it recorded charges related to the U.S. tax overhaul.
Excluding items, it earned $1.33 per share, just shy of the average analyst estimate of $1.34 per share.
Revenue for the quarter rose 4.5 percent to $6.44 billion, beating the estimate of $6.29 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv, on higher sales of newer medicines such as diabetes drug Trulicity and psoriatic arthritis medicine Taltz.
The company also said it would launch an exchange offer to shareholders in the first half of 2019 to divest its remaining ownership interest in Elanco, the animal health unit it took public in September. (Reporting by Manogna Maddipatla and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)