AbbVie's Q4 sales rise 4.8%, despite lack of growth from Humira due to biosimilar competition

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Revenue

$8.7 billion (in line with forecasts)

+4.8%

Profit

$2.8 billion

Versus loss of $1.8 billion

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

"Our strong performance this quarter completes another excellent year for AbbVie," commented CEO Richard Gonzalez, adding "the launches of Skyrizi and Rinvoq are going extremely well." Company president Michael Severino noted that AbbVie expects "Skyrizi and Rinvoq to have full coverage across the major disease areas for which Humira is currently approved, plus new areas, such as atopic dermatitis."

Meanwhile, Gonzalez said "we also look forward to completing the planned Allergan acquisition in the first quarter."

Other results:

  • Immunology: $5.2 billion, up 5%
    • Humira: $4.9 billion, flat versus the prior year, with international sales falling 27.3% to $948 million due to biosimilar competition, although revenues were up 9.8% in the US at just under $4 billion
    • Skyrizi: $216 million, topping estimates of $142 million
    • Rinvoq: $33 million, following US approval of the oral JAK inhibitor last August to treat adults with moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis
  • Haematologic oncology products: $1.5 billion, up 37%
    • Imbruvica: $1.3 billion, up 28.9%
    • Venclexta: $251 million
  • Hepatitis C product sales: $632 million, down 26.7%
    • Mavyret: $628 million, down 23.4
  • Full-year revenue: $33.3 billion, up 1.6%
  • Full-year profit: $7.9 billion, versus $5.7 billion in the prior year

Looking ahead:

AbbVie expects revenue growth, excluding the pending purchase of Allergan, to approach 8% on an operational basis to around $35.9 billion, with combined sales of Skyrizi and Rinvoq of approximately $1.7 billion. Meanwhile, earnings per share are forecast to be in the range of $9.61 to $9.71, above analyst predictions of $9.48 per share.

What analysts said:

Citi analyst Andrew Baum noted that "while AbbVie is seeking to shine light on its early-stage pipeline, we anticipate the performance of the stock will be heavily tied to ongoing Skyrizi and Rinvoq rollouts," adding he believes investors will focus on the delivery of promised savings from the Allergan merger. Meanwhile, Vamil Divan at Mizuho said AbbVie's latest financial results, "along with the coming close and integration of the Allergan transaction, should drive estimates higher and lead to continued share price appreciation for a stock trading at a significant discount to the group."

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