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AbbVie raises profit forecast as Humira stays strong, new drugs impress

(Reuters) -AbbVie on Thursday raised its annual profit forecast after beating analysts’ estimates for second-quarter earnings on a lower-than-expected fall in sales of blockbuster arthritis drug Humira and strong sales of newer treatments.

FILE PHOTO: Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed Abbvie logo in this illustration taken, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Global Humira sales tumbled 25.2% to $4.01 billion while analysts had expected $3.94 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Humira’s sales trajectory is on the top of investors’ minds following the entry in the U.S. market of multiple copycat versions of one of the world’s biggest selling drugs.

Analysts had said the only biosimilar available in the U.S. during the second quarter, Amjevita from Amgen, has not been able to switch Humira patients as much as estimated since its launch in January.

The price of Amejevita, which launched at a 5% and 55% discount on Humira’s $6,922-per-month price tag, may have contibuted to the lower-than-expected take-up, said BMO Capital Markets analyst Evan Seigerman in a note.

“While Humira biosimilars have entered the market, competitors are priced at parity, potentially resulting in lower erosion than investors expected for the quarter,” he said.

Seven other drugmakers have launched this month with their own versions of Humira, but three have kept their list prices within 5% to 7% of AbbVie’s, while two priced at an 85% discount and two offered both types of prices.

Still, Humira sales are expected to drop 37% in 2023, and the company has been leaning on newer immunology drugs Skyrizi and Rinvoq to drive growth.

Skyrizi recorded global sales of $1.88 billion that beat expectations of $1.82 billion while Rinvoq generated $918 million to top estimates of $897 million.

Meanwhile, the company recorded $685 million in global sales of Botox for cosmetic use, down 1.4%, but slightly higher than analysts’ estimate of $683 million.

“The strong performance was driven predominantly by our non-Humira business, which delivered high single-digit sales growth,” CEO Richard Gonzalez said in a statement.

Excluding one-off items, AbbVie reported a profit of $2.91 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $2.81.

The company raised its 2023 adjusted profit forecast to $10.90 to $11.10 per share from $10.57 to $10.97 earlier.

AbbVie’s shares were up 1.4% at $143.85 in premarket trading.

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  • Posted on July 27, 2023