Cialis sales in the U.S. disappoint analysts

BOTHELL – Cialis is on track to generate more than $500 million this year, but the erectile dysfunction drug’s sales in the United States aren’t living up to expectations.

Lilly ICOS, the joint venture between ICOS Corp. of Bothell and Eli Lilly and Co., reported Thursday that worldwide sales of Cialis totaled $137 million during the second quarter.

That compared with $108 million during the first quarter of this year and $37 million during the second quarter of 2003.

U.S. sales of Cialis, which was approved for sale by the Food and Drug Administration in November, reached nearly $51 million during the quarter. That was up from $33 million in the first quarter.

Paul Clark, ICOS chairman and chief executive, characterized the drug’s sales as “strong.” ICOS shares gained $1.70, or nearly 8 percent, to close at $23.88 after Lilly ICOS posted its results.

But analysts weren’t as impressed. Paul Latta of McAdams Wright Ragen in Seattle said he had expected $140 million in worldwide sales, including $56 million in domestic sales.

Because the United States is the world’s largest market for erectile dysfunction drugs, that figure is a critical one, Latta said. Cialis’ performance in Europe was stronger than Latta had forecast, however, and he said the drug’s sales figures from Canada and Mexico also were a surprise.

Lilly ICOS reported a net loss for the quarter of $70.5 million, much lower than analysts had projected. Clark said that was because some expected expenses had been “strategically shifted to later in the year.”

Clark also pointed out that the overall market for erectile dysfunction drugs has expanded since Cialis’ introduction. Worldwide, the market for Cialis, Viagra and Levitra expanded more than 13 percent during the first half of 2004, he said.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com.