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AbbVie expects Humira to drive growth in inaugural guidance

First statement since split from Abbott

AbbVie

AbbVie gave its first financial guidance since spinning out from Abbott Laboratories, predicting 2013 earnings per share in the $3.03-$3.13 range, in line with analyst forecasts.

The company also said its flagship Humira (adalimumab) product for rheumatoid arthritis grew 17 per cent last year to $9.27bn, making it the world's top-selling drug, although it is expecting 2013 growth to be in the low double digits.

Humira also treats Crohn's disease and psoriasis and is expected to be the engine driving AbbVie for the foreseeable future, but it is already facing competition from a new generation of oral anti-inflammatory therapies such as Pfizer's Xeljanz (tofactinib citrate).

Added to that, it is due to start losing patent protection in 2016, although AbbVie says there is still plenty of upside in the brand from new indications and expansion of sales in emerging markets.

The onus is now on AbbVie to bring multiple new products to market in the next two to three years to help build a revenue platform when Humira starts to wane.

AbbVie's chairman and chief executive Richard Gonzalez highlighted the progress with AbbVie's hepatitis C pipeline as one of the key achievements of 2012, along with the performance of the firm's speciality medicines.

Top of the list in the speciality division is testosterone replacement therapy AndroGel – 31 per cent to $1.15bn in 2012 – with support from Creon (pancrelipase) for pancreatic insufficiency and hypothyroidism treatment Synthroid (levothyroxine), both up around 6 per cent to $353m and $551m, respectively.

AbbVie is vying with other drugmakers including Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Boehringer Ingelheim to bring the first all-oral, interferon-free hepatitis C regimen to market.

Meanwhile, the company's mid-to late-stage pipeline also includes drugs for kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and multiple myeloma.

AbbVie said it expects its pipeline to start making a significant contribution by the second half of 2015.

1st February 2013

From: Sales

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