After last month's revelation that Eli Lilly's (LLY) upcoming anti-clotting drug Prasugrel saved more patients from heart attacks and strokes -- but led to an increased risk of fatal bleeding -- Barron's has a hard time seeing much upside for the stock. "We were not expecting major bleeds," Morgan Stanley analyst Jami Rubin said, adding the drug would more-likely evolve into a niche product than the billion dollar blockbuster she once hoped for. Lilly has no other potential blockbusters in its pipeline, while 'gold-mine' psychiatric drug Zyprexa loses its patent in 2011, followed soon after by several other blockbusters (Cymbalta, Evista and Gemzar in 2013-2014). Some rival drugs will lose their patents even earlier, diluting sales of Lilly-patented drugs with cheaper generics. Prasugrel's so-called Triton study showed its patients had 19% fewer heart attacks or stocks, but suffered 32% higher incidents of major bleeding. Overall, though, Prasugrel patients had 13% fewer major incidents than those using Bristol-Meyers' (BMY) $5 billion/year Plavix, a factor which has Lilly believing it can submit the drug for U.S. approval by year-end. It is also trying to distinguish which patient groups are at greatest risk from bleeding. But some analysts believe the FDA will demand further safety studies, and say the drug's release could be delayed until 2011. One analyst says the shares ($52) are "dead money," while Rubin thinks they're worth $51, or $47 if the company fails to sell Prasugrel. (Barron's)
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