Eli Lilly shares could jump as interest rises in obesity drug tirzepatide, according to Bank of America. Analyst Geoff Meacham reiterated his buy rating on the pharmaceutical stock and raised his price target by $50 to $500, citing increased revenue forecasts for the drug. His new target implies shares could rally 18.1% from Tuesday’s close. “The consumer / social media trends bolster our confidence in tirzepatide’s commercial opportunity, as directionally, patients seem very interested in anti-obesity medications (AOMs), regardless of the administrative modality,” he said in a note to clients Wednesday. He said tirzepatide for obesity should see an average demand increase of 40% between 2023 and 2030, with Bank of America expecting it to be a nearly $20-billion drug by 2030. Investors have long bet on obesity drugs helping pharmaceutical stocks without success, though some market observers have said this new crop of drugs could see a different fate as improved results can more strongly oblige health insurers to support the medications. Meacham also said he has “increased confidence” in the company’s ability to execute. While there is not reimbursement for broader obesity treatments yet, Meacham said it is a “when, not if” issue. He said it will likely be as common to be reimbursed for obesity drugs as it is for cholesterol or blood pressure by 2030. Meacham’s analysis found that consumers are most interested in Eli Lilly’s Trulicity and Novo ‘s Ozempic for weight loss. But he said obesity drugs won’t be a “zero-sum game” and multiple big players should be able to see increasingly fast uptake as reimbursement and competitive pricing pressures take hold. And Meacham’ noted that Eli Lilly is a leader beyond the one drug, with the company’s “peer leading” growth making it that “a ‘have’ in a sea of ‘have nots.'” In the same vein, UBS analyst Colin Bristow, who also has a buy rating and similar price target of $498, said the company has room for margin expansion and upside. “LLY still offers one of the cleanest, de-risked growth stories in large cap,” Bristow said. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.