New York — Eli Lilly said on Tuesday it is considering the sale of its Elanco animal health business and expressed optimism that its rejected rheumatoid arthritis drug would pass muster with US regulators when it resubmits its application. Lilly, which reported third-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ expectations and raised its adjusted full-year earnings forecast by 5c per share, promised to provide an update on its plan for Elanco by the middle of 2018. It said other options include a spinoff or keeping the business that generated global sales of $740.6m in the quarter, but is facing increased competition. The Elanco news is not surprising given a trend in the pharmaceutical industry to break off diversified businesses from the parent company, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said. Lilly shares, which were up more than 18% for the year, fell more than 2%, possibly on fears of stiff competition for some of the its important new growth drugs, such as the diabetes treatment, Tr...

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