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Abbott completes split as AbbVie debuts on NYSE

New company will focus on research-based pharmaceuticals

AbbVie launch 

Abbott has completed the process of establishing its research-based pharmaceuticals business AbbVie as an independent biopharmaceutical company.

AbbVie started trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 2 as ABBV, with the value of both stocks at the end of the day running a little higher than the combined company 24 hours earlier.

Abbott announced its intention to set up AbbVie as a separate pharma company in October 2011, retaining its diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generics businesses in-house which collectively represent a $22bn business.

Miles White, Abbott's chairman and chief executive, said the separation was "the most transformative action in [the company's] 125-year history" and had created a new firm that is "already making a significant difference, focusing on highly specialised, market-leading therapies for some of the world's most difficult-to-treat diseases".

AbbVie launches with 12,000 employees, an estimated $18bn in annual revenues – headed by arthritis blockbuster Humira (adalimumab), which accounts for around half that total on its own – plus $7bn in cash and debt of around $16bn.

Since announcing the separation, Abbott and AbbVie have been at pains to emphasise the latter company's R&D pipeline to support the business when Humira's patent protection starts to expire in 2016.

AbbVie has a portfolio of around 20 new drugs in mid- to late-stage development, targeting hepatitis C, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well as chronic kidney disease (CKD), though it was forced to halt trials of one of its CKD candidates last October.

Employees from more than 40 countries and patients joined AbbVie leaders yesterday as they rang the first opening bell of 2013 at the NYSE.

"AbbVie launches with an outstanding portfolio, a solid pipeline and enthusiastic people who will serve patients and deliver growth," said the new company's chairman and CEO Richard Gonzalez at the launch.

The other members of AbbVie's executive leadership team are chief financial officer William Chase, chief scientific officer John Leonard and Carlos Alban who heads the firm's commercial operations.

Laura Schumacher is in charge of business development and external affairs as well as serving as AbbVie's general counsel, while Timothy Richmond is senior vice president of human resources.

3rd January 2013

From: Research, Sales

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