AbbVie's first-quarter sales rise 10.1%, topping forecasts

Headline results for the first quarter:

Revenue

$8.6 billion (forecasts of $8.3 billion)

+10.1%

Profit

$3 billion

Versus $2.5 billion

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

What the company said:

"Our business continues to perform well and remains strong, which speaks volumes as to the robustness of our portfolio," remarked CEO Richard Gonzalez. AbbVie noted that the quarter included a 240-basis-point stocking benefit related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company also reiterated that it expects its pending $63-billion merger with Allergan to become final this month, having received approval from European regulators and recently entering into a consent decree with staff at the US Federal Trade Commission.

Other results:

  • Immunology: $5.1 billion, up 14.5%
    • Humira: $4.7 billion, up 5.8%, beating estimates of $4.4 billion, with sales in the US increasing 13.7% to $3.7 billion, but declining 14.9% in international markets to $1 billion due to biosimilar competition
    • Skyrizi: $300 million, above analysts' forecasts of around $260 million
    • Rinvoq: $86 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 32.1%
    • Imbruvica: $1.2 billion, up 20.6%, with revenues of $966 million in the US, while international profit sharing stood at $266 million
    • Venclexta: $317 million, more than double the year-ago period
  • Hepatitis C product sales:  $564 million, down 30.8%
    • Mavyret: $559 million, down 29.2%
  • Kaletra: $86 million, up 9.5%

Looking ahead:

AbbVie reaffirmed that it expects earnings this year to be in the range of $9.61 to $9.71, noting that its outlook assumes "stay-at-home" orders imposed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be gradually lifted starting this month in the US and Europe.

What analysts said:

Citi analyst Andrew Baum called AbbVie's guidance assumption "an optimistic assessment," given where things currently stand in terms of tackling the health crisis.

Pipeline updates:

AbbVie said it continues to work with global health authorities and institutions on a treatment for COVID-19, focusing on the HIV combination treatment Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir) as a possible antiretroviral therapy. The company has also initiated the Phase II iNSPIRE trial evaluating the addition of its BTK inhibitor Imbruvica (ibrutinib) to best supportive care in treating patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 disease suffering from pulmonary distress.

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