WSJ: Lilly banking on late-stage drugs

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Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter says he's not ready to cut his firm's $5.3-billion R&D budget yet, but if the firm's late-stage pipeline doesn't pan out, that's exactly what he'll need to do.

Lilly is scheduled to report earnings Wednesday. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the CEO made no mention of another large-scale reorganization the likes of Merck's earlier this month.

The Indianapolis pharma spends 23% of revenue on R&D -- one of the highest R&D spending rates in pharma, according to the WSJ. It's risen 20% since 2009. 

The late-stage pipeline includes solanezumab for Alzheimer's, and three diabetes drugs: SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin, the dulaglutide GLP-1 and a Lantus-like long-acting form of insulin.

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